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                       Practice Gratitude

Hello. My name is Dr. Vicki Smithers. I am a family physician near Dallas, TX. I am in private practice and give wellness seminars and speak on living stress free. Please read other recent articles at my website healthandwellness.plus

During an extremely difficult trial in my life I had lost the ability to see the good in things. I was so overwhelmed by the stress of the situation everything seemed so bleak. I had to cling to what little hope I could. I had read a self help book  and had learned in training tools to help improve and maintain a positive attitude. I started each day with 3 things I was grateful for and read a daily devotion with an uplifting scripture. It helped me focus on the good things in my life. I started writing them in my journal and then meditating on each of them and thanking God for them in prayer. Slowly over weeks my list grew quite long. And my mood changed to one of joy.

It helped me focus on the good things in life, reframed my doomsday thinking and replaced it with warm, positive thoughts and peace. Roberta Lee in her book "The Superstress Solution" asks that you journal daily. She has a 4 week program to reduce stress. She recommends you start those entries with a series of questions including "What am I grateful for?" . Then she follows the questions  with daily affirmations like "Abundance is my destiny and I wish this for others as well" or "  I am at peace with myself and with the world" or "Everyday I create and appreciate love in my life". She states these small steps help you develop a positive attitude- laughter, no negative self talk, cultivate resiliency and lead from your strengths, and connect to self and others.

Take time from your  busy life to acknowledge you are grateful for someone or something in your life- wether it be a thoughtful note from a friend, flowers from your spouse, your child's first steps or the beautiful full moon.. I like the words, counting my  blessings. Sonya Lyubominsky at UC Riverside found that journaling weekly for 6 weeks on gratitude increased individuals satisfaction with life.  Robert Emmons, a researcher at UC Davis, found that engaging in gratitude exercises and writing a thank you letter or telling a friend you are grateful elevates mood, increases energy, relieves pain and fatigue.  

Gratitude and appreciation help us  turn toward joy and gladness.  It  leads to peace in our whole body and a more optimistic outlook on life. Try a Gratitude Meditation to help you focus more on those people and things that are special in your life.
1. Find a peaceful spot
2. List all of the things you are grateful for- friendships, things about yourself, your home, pleasurable life moments, nature
3. Say words of thanks for each thing on your list
4. Then bring awareness to the moment- how does it feel in your body, gently breath and sit with gratitude in your heart and give thanks!!!

Health and Happiness!