Many of us will embark on this plentiful, indulgent and joyful Thanksgiving and Holiday Season just around the corner. For many others who have been tragically affected by natural disasters and other misfortunes, there might be little joy to celebrate. Historically, there has always been a great deal of emphasis on gratitude around this time of year. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with spending more time contemplating our gratefulness during this season, why not do this all year long? The reason that we should regularly practice gratitude is that it is excellent for our health! Countless studies have been conducted over the years and various researchers have found that this highly praised positive attitude has powerful effects on our total health. Feeling gratitude for the tiniest of things in our lives can produce powerful results. While you are absolutely deserving of being grateful for tangible items like a home to live in, a car to drive, clothes to wear and money in the bank to provide for you and your family, it can be as simple as having a sense of community, connection and support with other people, the peaceful mornings to savor your favorite cup of coffee or tea, a greeting from your pet so happy to see you, a beautiful hike out in healing nature or simply and profoundly the oxygen you breathe in and the beating of your heart and that tells you are alive and meant to be here. Read these scientifically proven gratitude benefits listed below. Apply them, practice them, state them out loud or silently in your head and/or write them down in a journal/notepad all throughout the year and watch as your life begins to transform into something amazing and nothing short of miraculous.
Psychological Health is Better
Expressing and feeling gratitude reduces depression, anxiety, anger, resentment, jealously and remorse. When you realize and appreciate what you have and what’s working well (or mostly well) in your life, that delivers a calmer peace of mind and well being. That diminishes those negative emotions and in turn makes you feel happier.
Greater Self Confidence
Feeling gratitude on a regular basis can increase self esteem. When you feel grateful for your own successes, accomplishments, jobs, family, friends, health, etc, you feel better about yourself. And even better when you are able to eliminate “comparitis” (comparing yourself to others) you experience more genuine happiness. As Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the Thief of Joy.”
Stronger Mental Power & Resiliency
Practicing gratitude can not only help alleviate daily and weekly stressors in life but it may also help to lessen more severe post traumatic stress disorder over time. Focusing on the aspects of life that are more stable, consistent, calm and supportive and loving, can help the brain to heal so that it can take on more tasks. Ongoing expression of gratitude also helps people to recover from disappointments, failures, traumas and tragedies.
Feeling gratitude for our lives gives us a more expansive sense of empathy not only towards ourselves but also with others. When we realize that other people might be struggling too and don’t have the seemingly perfect life that doesn’t exist (though you won’t see that side on social media), that allows for a deeper understanding and connection to others, while reducing negative, aggressive and envious over reactions.
Physically Healthier Body
When you treat and heal the mind, the body follows. Our bodies take orders from the brain so it naturally makes sense to start there. While a healthy diet and exercise are essential as we all know, our thoughts and attitudes have an amazing ability to treat and heal our bodies in so many ways. Consistent gratitude can help ease anxiety and depressive symptoms, calm the digestive system, help promote more restful sleep, alleviate body aches (related to stress and worry) and lower blood pressure.
Practicing gratitude is simple. It’s effective. It’s free. And you will feel better physically and mentally for years to come!
Pumpkin Coconut Mousse
Have an extra pumpkin lying around from Halloween that is still in tact or a few extra cans of pumpkin not being used for pumpkin pie? Well then you have to try this creative, unique, delicious and healthier pumpkin dessert that I made a few weeks ago. If you like the flavors of pumpkin and coconut and prefer not to eat dairy and gluten, you’ll love this! I found the recipe online but modified it a bit. Here’s my spin.
~4 cups of cooked pumpkin (from the actual squash like I did) or 4 cups of organic canned pumpkin; let cool a few hours if you cooked the pumpkin
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup (please do not use Aunt Jemima) 🙂
3 tsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4-1/3 cup of brown sugar
1 full can of full fat organic coconut milk (13.66 oz)
Combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl on medium to high speed for several minutes. Then transfer to a high powered blender for several more minutes until completely pureed and creamy. I used my potent and beloved Vitamix. I’m sure a Ninja, Blendtec, Oster or a Food Processor would work fine.
Transfer to individual ramekins and chill in fridge for a few hours. You can add whipped cream if you like. I didn’t as I found that the coconut milk added an excellent “cream” like flavor. Enjoy!
Wishing each and every one of you a very Happy, Comfortable and Gratitude Filled Thanksgiving!!