Adopting an attitude of gratitude toward your life and relationships has been proven clinically to increase happiness and decrease depression. Dr. Robert Emmons, a leading graduate researcher on the subject has found the following seven things to be true about gratitude.
Improve your relationships - One of the primary causes of conflict in relationships is unrealized expectations. Giving thanks for your partner, neighbor, colleague, or employee harmonizes the relationship and more easily resolves friction when it arises.
Improves your physical health - By lowering stress hormones and taking a vested interest in your well-being, you're likely to exercise and care for your health preventatively.
Improves your psychological health - Increases happiness, and decreases depression.
Enhances empathy and reduces aggression - Which makes gratitude an essential mindset to teach the children in your life.
Improves sleep - When you feel good about your life, your cortisol levels lower; you're less acidic, and your body sleepy more deeply.
Improves self-esteem - Appreciating the people and things in your life helps you see how good you have it.
Increases mental stamina - That's a sure-fire antidote to holiday stress.
If you want to be truly happy, be present to the moment in front of you. A primary cause of anxiety is a preoccupation with the past and/or future. Simply acknowledging where you are in the moment, quiets your racing mind, focuses you on the task at hand, and lowers your blood pressure, and increases your sense of happiness and satisfaction.
Chinese Medicine 101: Ancient Insight for Modern Minds
The characters for "enough" represent a person and the harvest from the field. In Agrarian cultures, having enough meant survival, meant your family and community making it through another winter healthily and intact.
As we evolve in our prosperity as a race, we naturally want more: more information, more space, more knowledge, more horsepower, more money, more value, and more time...
And with the advent of faster technology, faster service, faster answers, our naturals drive for the elusive "more" grows as well.
So, what is enough?
When you remember to be grateful for what you already have, what you have already done, that which exists right before you, you reach satiety. You feel satisfied. You want for nothing and simply welcome more of the abundance the universe has in store for you.
Clinical studies have shown that gratitude in action lowers anxiety and depression and reduces the need for pharmaceutical management of some conditions.
Nutrition Spotlight: Intermittent Fasting... The Diabetes Answer? The Holiday Cookie Cure?
Most of the stories I hear during and after the holiday bemoan is how much my patients have consumed. Americans have created an international brand of of consumerism, and no holiday represents that better than Thanksgiving.
If you're worried about how you're going to survive the cookies, the cocktails, and all those times you just give in to the moment, them maybe intermittent fasting is the help you need. Intermittent fasting has been shown clinically to support weight loss protocols and increase immunity. When your body does not have an immediate source of food on which to run, it turns to your fat reserves, which increases your metabolism and insulin sensitivity (read: Diabetes antidote), and helps you lose weight. You define periods of the day during which you will fast and which you will feast. You still have to choose your food wisely and remember to exercise, so it's not a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card. But it can keep you on track with your health during the busiest and most (stressful) wonderful time of the year!
This piece from Nerd Fitness has an easy-to-follow guide to IF (intermittent fasting) with worksheets to plan your feast times.
Mel Baker-Thompson is a New York State licensed Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine with over 3,000 hours of clinical and didactic training in Eastern and Western medical modalities. She has developed the Whole Life Integration Method to take natural functional medicine to the next level - incorporating the role of the mind in the optimization of authentic health. Over the last 20 years she has treated physicians, therapists, Rockettes, even an Olympic-qualifying athlete. From infants to grandparents, she has crafted an approach to health cultivation that combines the wisdom, skill, and acumen of Chinese Medicine with nutrition therapy, manual therapy, essential oils, and insight meditation to remove health disruptors in the body and mind.