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Practice Thanksgiving Gratitude Now and Throughout the Year

Posted: November 17, 2011

Did you know that gratitude can help save your life? "Yes, it's true," proclaims stress-relief expert Lauren E. Miller. When you practice random acts of kindness and gratitude on a daily basis, you get physiological benefits such as the following.

  • Increased immune system
  • Improved cognitive performance
  • Increased energy
  • Lower heart rate
  • Balanced cortisol (hydrocortisone) levels, which result in less internal stress
  • More likely to live a longer and a more satisfied life
  • Laughter and inner joy resulting in decreased stress hormones
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Diminished pain

"Wow, that's a lot of benefits! So, how often throughout your day do you practice gratitude and carry out random acts of kindness to those around you, including yourself?" says Miller. "When the cloud of depression appeared in the midst of my 16 chemo treatments, double mastectomy, 12 surgeries, an additional year of chemo and six weeks of daily radiation while going through a divorce, I remember experimenting with different stress-relief techniques I had been teaching and learning about for more than 20 years to see which one was the quickest at removing the dark clouds. Gratitude won me over every time. You cannot be depressed and grateful at the same time. Talk about a destructive cloud in life to remove. Whenever I shifted my focus from the 'stressful situation' of the divorce, chemo, radiation and surgery to all that I was grateful for--down to my very heartbeat--the darkness lifted instantly. Try it. The next time you're feeling down and out, do a random act of kindness for yourself or someone around you," shares Miller.

"I invite you to practice gratitude and random acts of kindness each day during this month of Thanksgiving. Rather than focusing on what is not working out for you, start focusing on what is working out for you. Remember whatever you focus on grows BIGGER. Much of your unhappiness flows from your sense of entitlement, 'I don't deserve this, I deserve more, better, etc.,' along with comparisons. When you compare yourself to another human being, it's as if you are saying, 'You have something I need in order to love and accept myself and move forward in life.' Entitlement and comparing yourself to those around you will keep you far from the inner peace of gratefulness that flows from having a profound appreciation for the gift of life. Do you want to see more love in your life? Be love to those around you. Want more peace? Be peaceful and kind to those around you. Love evokes love, peace evokes peace. As you honor and celebrate your own uniqueness, you will be equipped to offer this gift to those around you. This is the perfect month to practice gratitude and appreciation on a daily basis. Don't be surprised if you get hooked and extend your Thanksgiving gratitude for the rest of your life, which more than likely will be extended because of your choice to practice love and gratitude along with releasing the stressful antics that come with farming out your sense of identity to the world around you. May your eagerness for growth move you past the perceived obstacles that stand before you, just as the growing flower moves past the dense elements of earth and rock to reach the warmth of the sun, embracing its destiny to bloom in this world," she says.