One definition of gratitude states, “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” (Oxford Languages)
“Gratitude, thankfulness, or gratefulness, from the Latin word gratus “pleasing, thankful,” is a feeling of appreciation felt by and/or similar positive response shown by the recipient of kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity, to the giver of said gifts.” (Wikipedia).
On 2-2-22, I want to highlight the importance of gratitude and why it is essential for our physical, mental, and emotional health. When we genuinely feel gratitude or thankfulness, it can help decrease cortisol (a stress hormone) and increase oxytocin in our bodies. Oxytocin is the “love and bonding” hormone. It can also help boost serotonin, GABA, and dopamine in our systems. These are the “feel good” chemicals in our brains. There is a whole biochemical shift in your body when you focus on and find things to be thankful for and have sincere gratitude towards!
Now, this can be helpful in our weight loss efforts as well. When we are stressed, depressed, and focused on the negative, we will stay in that “fight or flight” stress response in our bodies, and guess what? Your body will produce more cortisol (remember, the stress hormone) and hold onto that extra weight because it senses danger and goes into self-protection mode! You will not lose weight, no matter how great you are eating and how much you are working out! More on that another time 😉 but for now, let’s focus on this easy piece we can begin implementing. You will feel good, and those around you will also feel good!
Some ideas are gratitude journaling and/or a gratitude jar. Grab a notebook and pen, and start writing! Think of all the things you are grateful for. Go out and find ways to show gratitude and journal about how it made you feel, how you made someone else feel, and you will start to feel differently!
You could also start a gratitude jar. Get an empty jar, and as you find things to be thankful for or that make you smile, write them down and put them in the jar.
It can be big or small stuff, and moments you may typically take for granted or something you are celebrating! At the end of the year, your jar will be full, and so will your heart! This is a great way to use each day to focus on the gifts and not the problems!
So, as you start to think of all the new things you want to accomplish, create, or jump in this new year, make a continuous attitude of gratitude be at the top of your list! There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Spread some kindness. You will feel better and so will they!