EP 17: Gratitude and the Mind-Body Connection
Welcome to another episode of Breathe More. As we step into the holiday season, particularly with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it feels surreal that the year is coming to an end. These last six weeks tend to be a whirlwind, and I wanted to take a moment to dive into a theme that's often discussed in the wellness world – gratitude.
Gratitude is more than a mere polite gesture; it's an emotion intertwined with appreciation and thankfulness. Think about that lightness and openness you feel when expressing gratitude, like saying thank you to a stranger for a kind gesture.
Now, let's talk about the science behind gratitude. Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of Davis, has been a leading researcher in this field for over 20 years. His studies show that consistent gratitude practice can significantly impact our well-being. It reduces perceived stress by 28%, lowers depression by 16%, and even decreases the stress hormone cortisol by 23%.
Beyond mental health, gratitude extends to physical well-being. Patients with congestive heart failure experienced a 7% reduction in inflammation when assigned the task of practicing gratitude. The benefits continue with a 41% lower risk of depression over six months for those who engage in consistent gratitude activities.
Now, let's address the practical challenges. Life gets busy, habits are hard to maintain, and our minds tend to lean towards negativity. The comparison trap, especially in the age of social media, can hinder our ability to appreciate what we have.
Despite these challenges, there are simple ways to incorporate gratitude into our daily lives. Personally, I've made writing in a gratitude journal a daily practice, reflecting on three things I'm grateful for in the morning and recapping my day with five things at night.
Expressing appreciation is another powerful tool. A simple thank you, a note, or a text can have a significant impact. Integrating gratitude into mindfulness practices during moments of stillness helps bring attention to the present.
Gratitude walks, where you immerse yourself in the beauty of your surroundings, and having an accountability buddy to share gratitude consistently can make the journey more enjoyable.
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to you. Thank you for being part of my community, sharing your energy in breathwork classes, downloading my meditations, or connecting on social media. Your support encourages me to dream bigger, and I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.
Remember, what truly matters are the connections we build and the experiences we share. So, thank you for being here, for being you, and for your openness to learning more about supporting yourself and living authentically.
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