A Thanksgiving ‘thank you’ post
As we land on Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, I felt a piece on gratitude fit the bill. Not to worry, I’ll come back to my series on the yoga industry. (If you missed Part 1 in the series, read last week’s post.)
Long before gratitude lists were trendy or popular, Oprah was touting the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal. I’ll be honest: I thought the idea was hogwash. I stand corrected. Oprah knew what she was talking about.
Research has demonstrated the potential benefits of gratitude for our mental health. Harvard University shares more about the research and gives a list of ways to express gratitude here. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley shares how gratitude can change your brain physiologically (that’s nerd speak for the ability to change how your brain functions), for example:
“…when people felt more grateful, their brain activity was distinct from brain activity related to guilt and the desire to help a cause. More specifically, we found that when people who are generally more grateful gave more money to a cause, they showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with learning and decision making.”
How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain
The Greater Good Magazine (June 6, 2017)
Meditation falls into this category, too. Don’t like your brain’s love handles? Gratitude and meditate yourself to a shapelier brain!
A ‘Thank You’ List
Seeing as a girl can always use a little help in the brain physique arena, I’m giving gratitude a go in writing. Here is my Thanksgiving ‘thank you’ list:
I am grateful for…
You, my readers. Thank you for taking the time to read and for your emails. I may not always respond to them in a timely fashion but I always read them and I always appreciate them.
My ugly dancer-like feet because they’re strong. They also allow me to also pick up things with my toes.
Fall leaves, fall bike rides, and fall sweaters.
Any type of bike ride frankly except the type that happens in a snowstorm.
My bed. The pillow top is to die for.
The roof over my head. It protects the pillow top, among other things including my sense of security.
My sense of humour. I swear, I’m funny.
My artistic skills.
My cat. Don’t tell her though, she’ll develop an ego. Oops, too late. (In defence of cats, go here.)
My dog, Baldur, because he taught me unconditional love. He also taught me that husky fur will forever be part of my life. He’s been gone five years and yet the fur persists; I’ve accepted it.
The fact that I don’t have children.
My Cancervive extended family.
My friends, who are my other extended family. As someone whose immediate family is as small as a brain cell, my friends are my family. I often ask myself what I did to deserve such good people in my life. Could it be the bribing?
The fact that one friend, in particular, is still alive. Despite their mental health struggles, my powerlessness to help them, and the apparent lack of mental health resources to help them, they persist.
My parents, who chose to adopt a little girl without knowing the full extent of what they were getting themselves into.
The death of my parents without which I would never have learned the true meaning of grief.
My sister-in-law because she loves my brother dearly and because she was there for us during the worse years of our lives. She also bakes a mean cookie.
My brother, who could have otherwise been a huge dick to me over the years instead decided to be a sage of sorts. He’s my financial advisor, political debater, comedy-sidekick, and thought-provoker. (Before you ask, yes, he’s also adopted. No, we don’t have the same parents. I’m clearly from a better gene pool.)
My physical health.
My physical health.
My physical health. Without good health, we may as well be dead, pun intended.
My mental health.
What’s on your list?
I vote you take 5 minutes to write your own list. GO!
Happy Turkey Weekend. Please share this piece if you found it helpful, I’d be grateful if you did.
Now, where’s the pumpkin pie?