A thank you a day keeps the doctor away

Posted on: November 23rd, 2016
Tips for preserving your intangible legacy - the memories you make, values you share, communities you strengthen, traditions you honor - by our Special Projects Assistant, Marianne Cothern.
 
It turns out that being thankful and practicing gratitude aren't just good for your soul but are good for heart as well.
 
A 2015 study conducted at University of California, San Diego looked at a group of patients with varying degrees of poor heart health. The study found that “more gratitude...was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health,” said lead author Paul J. Mills, PhD, professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego.
 
The study indicated that keeping a gratitude journal was an effective way for patients (even those who were less grateful by nature) to maintain these ongoing health benefits.
 
If you want to try keeping a gratitude journal review these suggestions and then jump in.
 
Stay mobile: If your journal is pocket-sized you can makes notes as incidents occur.
 
People over things: Try to concentrate your gratefulness on people and their actions rather than objects/things.
 
Quality over quantity: Focus on recording the specific details of one experience rather than making a simple list of many.
 
Look out for surprises: Be on the lookout for anything unexpected or surprising - fresh opportunities to experience gratefulness.
 
When in doubt imagine going without: To better understand why you’re grateful for something try imagining what your life would be like without it.
 
Don’t just go through the motions: Make a commitment to being more grateful and to giving this exercise a chance. Give it at least six weeks.
 
Once or twice a week is plenty: The initial study had patients write in their journal daily but later research found that writing only once or twice a week might actually be more effective.
 
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