Thanksgiving serves as a wonderful reminder to be grateful for all that's good in your life. Consider, however, making gratitude a daily practice.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can have a profound impact on your metabolism, digestion, sleep, energy level, mood and more.
Count Your Blessings, Not Your Calories
Years ago, every night in bed I would mentally tally the calories I consumed that day. If I deemed the total count excessive I was a bad girl who must work harder to achieve the perfect diet and body. Not exactly a lovely lullaby for drifting off to dreamland.
Then one day I embraced something Oprah had been extolling for eons; I started a gratitude journal.
When I got into bed, I began counting my blessings instead of my calories. I listed everything that happened that day that I was grateful for, no matter how small. The habit stuck like super glue.
A recent journal entry included not getting hit by a speeding driver, a beautiful sunrise run, my strong legs, easily finding parking (a major feat in San Francisco), locally grown heirloom tomatoes, and my awesome clients. On a rare day that I can't think of anything, I'll simply write "my breath."
Empower Your Metabolism
If your head is constantly filled with negative thoughts about the shape of your thighs, the size of your belly, the number on the scale, or what you shouldn't have eaten, this creates a stress response in your body. All negative thinking does.
Low-level chronic stress diminishes your digestive power, nutrient assimilation and pleasure receptors.
It also reduces your calorie-burning capacity by reducing your oxygen intake and boosting the release of cortisol and insulin, hormones that promote fat storage and make it hard to lose weight and build muscle.
When your mind is in appreciation mode, your body relaxes. A relaxed state is the optimal state for digestion, nutrient assimilation, metabolism--basically all health and healing.
In fact, research links an attitude of gratitude to improved health, sounder sleep, reduced anxiety and depression, kinder behavior, more rewarding relationships, and greater life satisfaction.
Every Day Gratitude
The holiday season is notorious for triggering our bad habits. Why not make this year different?
Buy yourself a special journal and record five or so things you're grateful for every day. It only takes a minute or two, and the rewards are abundant.
Notice how cultivating gratitude empowers all areas of your life. Witness how focusing on the good things attracts more goodness into your world. You'll soon be grateful for your new healthy habit.