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It’s the time of the year to say something about gratitude…

I have many reasons to be grateful. As winter approaches here in the North I am grateful that soon I can fly away. Knowing that makes me feel just fine putting on a coat and breathing a little crisp air. I'm grateful I have options with homes in two very awesome places. I'm grateful that I was led to believe I could create this possibility and manifest it. I'm grateful for all the unseen forces that intervened to make it possible. And I'm grateful to my parents for helping me and believing in me even though they have no idea what a health retreat is all about.

Not that everything has to be reduced to science, but they actually do research on gratitude and have found gratitude exercises have measurable effects the body and the brain, effects on inflammation, the immune and cardiac systems, blood sugar, mood and stress levels. The reason why gratitude exercises work is explained this way; humans have a negative bias and the 'bad stuff' in our life's view outweighs the good by a measure of about 3:1. It is believed this bias developed over millions of years to help us survive threats in our environment, but the brain doesn't always distinguish between reality and fiction, past events or thoughts. So consciously feeling thankful for things acts as a "mental movie" causing the brain to releases dopamine which has a positive effect on mood and emotional well-being. Practicing gratitude actually rewires your brain and as a result your stress hormone levels are lowered, boosting your immune system. Researchers are now discovering that people who express their appreciation and gratitude sleep better, they have more energy, better digestion, fewer headaches, and less anxiety.

Thankfulness is healing and energizing, a powerful spiritual vitamin. To nurture a thankful state of mind may take a little effort at first, a new habit to cultivate, replacing some of our habitual worry and negative thinking. Just a few minutes a day is all it takes, when you go to sleep at night or while sipping your morning coffee, to reflect on something you're thankful for. I have noticed something else, that when bad things seem to be happening usually there is an upside. In the moment it may not be apparent but in the end something good comes through. Knowing that there is a silver lining to every roadblock or a lesson to be learned keeps us from sacrificing our health and peace of mind.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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