THE GIFTS OF GRATITUDE & HOW TO TAP INTO THEM | PRO · Parkinson's Resource Organization

THE GIFTS OF GRATITUDE & HOW TO TAP INTO THEM

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Lynda Reid, PhD.

Do you feel immersed in grief, fear, or resentment? How do you create comfort in times of loss, limitations, and conflict? How do you celebrate the upcoming holiday season by staying apart from those you love?

You can begin to answer those questions by understanding that you can control what you think. Quite simply, your brain only knows what you tell it. Take a moment to pause and pay attention to your mental soundtrack. If your soundtrack is full of fear, worries, and denial, it is time to rewrite your script.  

You have the capacity to write a story that supports your health and wellbeing. A story that acknowledges your current situation and gently shifts your thoughts to focus on moments of gratitude, moments of giving, and receiving. Moments of giving allow you to give thanks, show appreciation, and practice kindness. Receiving gratitude will enable you to acknowledge others and truly take in the impact of their support and understanding. It takes a conscious effort on your part, but the gifts are great.

The Gifts of Gratitude 

  1. Reduces the production of your stress hormones easing the strain on your heart and overall physical wellness.

  2. Relax the body (especially muscles in the core), promoting your health and vitality.

  3. Boosts your energy and desire to engage in positive activities.

  4. Counteracts depression and facilitates positive emotions.

  5. Promotes positive personal relationships and increases your leadership potential.

  6. Increases creativity and the ability to take risks.

  7. Enhances problem-solving and ability to collaborate.

  8. Minimizes worry and improves sleep.

  9. Practicing gratitude improves the immune system and capacity for resilience.

  10. Increases greater life satisfaction boosting self-esteem and optimism.

Gratitude evolves as you embrace, what I call, The Giving and Receiving Cycle. To honestly give, you must honor others by receiving the gifts they wish to share with you. Your gratitude story includes memories of the special moments that lifted your spirits and filled your heart. The story expands as you continually reach out to share your appreciation, respect, and love with others. 

The Gratitude Cycle functions on three fundamental realities. The first is that no relationship comes with mindreading powers. Saying, "I shouldn't have to tell you," places others at a disadvantage and sets you up for disappointment. That reality holds for parents, children, siblings, partners, spouses, and friends. If you need something from someone else, you need to ask. 

The Cycle's second reality is that what you need may not come in the way you expect. Yet, if you stay open, you may well get what you need in unexpected other ways and from unexpected people. You may be surprised by how and by whom.

The third reality relates to the Cycle itself. To honestly give, you must also be able to receive. You may be a great giver, but if you are not also a gracious receiver, you are robbing another person from benefiting from gratitude's gifts. 

Tapping into the Gifts of Gratitude doesn't require more than a little time and consideration. Here are a few ideas to enhance your ability to increase gratitude in your life.

  1. Keep a gratitude journal; writing down three things you are grateful for at the end of each day. 

  2. Wake up just a little earlier each morning and take time to sit and be thankful for the day ahead. 

  3. Create thank you notes for individuals who support you and your family members in this time of challenge. 

  4. Show your local restaurant owners you appreciate them by ordering out and promoting them on social media.

  5. Donate as you can to your local non-profits providing support for our most vulnerable populations.

  6. Order your holiday gifts from small local businesses and encourage others to do the same.

  7. Surprise someone with flowers.

  8. Do something nice for your neighbor. 

  9. Wear a mask. Stay socially safe. 

  10. Create a few new virtual rituals for your holidays.

  11. Focus forward and plan for creative ways to celebrate reconnecting post-COVID.

  12. Pick up the phone and call someone.

  13. Reach out to others and ask for what you need. 

  14. Graciously accept and acknowledge all that you are given. 

Gratitude can create comfort within your grief, quiet the voices of fear, and move past resentment and conflict. The more you focus on gratitude in your life, the more you will bring into your life. You are worth it.

Find Dr. Lynda Reid in the Wellness Village where she has been a member since April 2020.

 

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Updated: August 16, 2017