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Practice Gratitude to Reduce Stress and Improve Your Well-Being

By Dr. Deitrick L. Gorman Practicing gratitude has shown to help individuals to feel happier, be healthier, have better relationships and achieve their goals. Feeling appreciation for everyday things also redirects our way of thinking toward the positive. Some studies show that we have 12,000 – 60,000 thoughts per day and up to 80 percent […]

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By Dr. Deitrick L. Gorman

Practicing gratitude has shown to help individuals to feel happier, be healthier, have better relationships and achieve their goals. Feeling appreciation for everyday things also redirects our way of thinking toward the positive. Some studies show that we have 12,000 – 60,000 thoughts per day and up to 80 percent of these can be negative. Cultivating feelings of gratitude can help us conquer our negative bias and view life in a better light.

Another important benefit of daily gratitude is the ability to reduce our feelings of stress and anxiety. Research has shown that gratitude has the power to reduce our levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone released by the adrenal glands. When your body experiences chronic stress, it can lead to digestion problems, insomnia, headaches, depression and weight gain. It’s important to reduce your cortisol levels to get your body out of the ‘fight or flight’ mode and regain a normal state.

Cultivating gratitude is an important step in resetting our thinking and reducing our stress levels. The benefits of practicing gratitude are numerous. Here are just a few examples:

·       Expressing gratitude results in the brain releasing dopamine and serotonin — two hormones that make us feel happier.

·       Helps us to combat negative thinking.

·       Boosts immunity.

·       Promotes better sleep.

·       Can help us from comparing ourselves to others.

·       Improves relationships.

You may know people who always see the glass as half ‘full’ and seem to have a perpetual positive outlook no matter what life throws at them. While some individuals may seem predisposed to leading a grateful life, the good news is that being more grateful can be cultivated.

Here are a few suggestions to begin your path of practicing gratitude and reap its many benefits:

·       Swap out any internal negative talk with thoughts of gratitude.

·       Keep a gratitude journal. Write down 2-3 things you are grateful for each day. It’s recommended to keep a journal for at least 90 days so it becomes a lasting habit.

·       When you are stressed, take deep breaths to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which will calm your body’s responses to the stressful thoughts or situation.

·       Use positive affirmations (or inspirational quotes) on a daily basis to reset your way of thinking.

By incorporating gratitude, you can take important steps to improve your well-being. I encourage you to start today!

About Dr. Deitrick L. Gorman

Dr. Deitrick L. Gorman, America’s Relaxation Doctor®, is a Board Certified Family Medicine Physician, speaker, blogger and four-time Amazon bestselling author. It is her mission to help individuals maneuver through life’s stressful situations at work and home by learning ways to incorporate Relaxation. www.drdeitrickg.com.

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