Life has taken a full 180 throughout the world!
Many of us are trying to work from home, homeschool our kids, and find toilet paper. It can be stressful, and being quarantined makes it more difficult as many of us are starting to feel stir crazy.
Incorporating the practice of gratitude in your daily life is one way to improve your health. Though it may seem like a small thing, the practice of gratitude has many health benefits.
Gratitude can aid in overcoming insomnia. Many people lie awake at night with their minds racing of thoughts about their kids, work, and all the things they have to do. If you replace those thoughts with gratitude, it can help you fall asleep easily and have a better night’s rest.
One way to do this is to write in a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, list three items that you are grateful for. Research shows that thoughts of gratitude can lower Interleukin 6 (IL-6), which is an inflammatory marker that keeps unwanted conditions around.
Positive thinking can strengthen your immune system. Gratitude activates the parasympathetic nervous system and lowers production of the stress hormone cortisol. The less you stress, the easier it becomes to recover from illness.
Gratitude can improve energy levels by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine increases our energy levels and turns on the learning centers of our brains leading to motivation and increased happiness.
If we take a step back and look at this as a big picture, we can see we are all interconnected: microbes, animals, and humans. We are all in this together. This is a good time to think about all the positives happening in our lives.
For me, this time has been a time of reflection. There are many things I am grateful for in the midst of this pandemic:
What are you grateful for?
Find things in your life that you are grateful for and start to make a daily practice of acknowledging it. This is a great time to start to pick up new healthy habits.
Remember: change your outlook, change your life. Your WHEN can be NOW!
Dr. Monica, ND
Director & WHEN Health Advisor®