How Gratitude Makes You Healthy

An attitude of gratitude. Thankful. Blessed. We all know that we should appreciate the things, people, and opportunities we have; however, did you know that an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has proven health benefits? (Possibly even more than that green juice you paid for.) Before we chat science, why not start with a little exercise to get that gratitude flowing? Ready, set, gratitude.

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  • The simple act of expressing thanks automatically lessens stress, which can lead to illnesses like cancer and heart disease, overtime. So, next time you’re in a rut, shift your focus to the good things you have going for you to boost your mood and your immune system.
  • Grateful people are more likely to take care of themselves, which is hugely related to both physical and mental well-being. Dedicating time for self-care makes us happier, less stressed, more focused, and more capable to take care of others. Think of the oxygen masks on airplanes; we can’t take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves first.
  • Showing thanks may spark new relationships. Whether your colleague does you a favor or a stranger holds the door for you, expressing appreciation may initiate conversation, which may lead to friendship, which may lead to more happiness and even more gratitude.
  • An attitude of gratitude increases self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-esteem because your focus is on the good things that you like about yourself. Heck yes.
  • Grateful people are less likely to blame others, react with aggression, and experience anger, as they acknowledge their blessings and feel more empathy for others. Bye bye, road rage.
  • Trouble sleeping? Gratitude reduces anxiety, which can keep us awake or interrupt sleep. Simply put, get grateful and get good shut-eye.
  • Gratitude boosts resilience. We’re far more likely to overcome an obstacle or stay strong through a tough time if we keep an attitude of gratitude.
  • Grateful people are proven to exercise more, which also relieves stress and initiates all of the other benefits listed above. Lace up your sneakers for this double whammy.
  • You do not have to be “successful” to feel gratitude. In fact, those with less money or “stuff” have actually been proven to feel more gratitude. It’s not about what we have or do not have, it’s about perspective.

So, how do we practice daily gratitude? Simply set aside time daily or throughout the day to count your blessings. Write them down or simply make a mental list if you’re on-the-go. Be more observant of when others do something nice for you or someone else and express your appreciation. Even if you’re really down in the dumps, force yourself to smile or think of one thing you’re thankful for. It takes little energy and actually produces happy hormones, which lead to all of the above. Giving thanks all year-round will make you a healthier, happier, more productive, well-rested, confident, unstoppable human being.

One Healthy Breakdown: adopt an attitude of gratitude and reap the benefits…then express your gratitude for ’em and let the cycle continue!

Living An All Inclusive Life

Lucky for me, I’m spending the week in the Dominican Republic with my family (hence the lack of posting between shaky wireless and some much needed R & R. Thanks for understanding!)

photo(134)But I do have something on my mind worth sharing. As I walked the beach this morning, I got to thinking about the term ‘all-inclusive.’ What an American dream-come-true, an endless supply of anything and everything you can eat and drink…and then eat some more. Everything Eastern culture idealizes: get as much as you can, as quick as you can.

The all-you-can-eat buffet especially depicts our society. From piled plates to dessert platters at every meal, even breakfast, second helpings, then thirds…made me think realize that not only was I, along with everyone else, eating more, but I was also eating faster. This realization immediately made me slow down. What’s the rush? How much of a good thing is too much? Sure, vacation should involve indulgence, that’s ok. What’s not ok is the ‘more, more, more, now, now, now attitude that American society has ingrained in us and the all-inclusive lifestyle cements. The problem is that the more we have, the more we tend to want, not the more we appreciate.

I started thinking about the non-conventional all-inclusive amenities: the miles of endless beach, soft white sand, infinite turquoise sea, and the warm sunshine, lack of work pressure, kids building sand castles, families bonding, couples holding hands, people setting sail…Now THAT’S what it’s all about. That’s abundance. It’s not about having it all, it’s about valuing, enjoying, tasting, and loving what we do have. I’d much rather live an abundant life than an all-inclusive life, and luckily, that’s available to us all. So, slow down and tune in to the abundance in your life. Breathe it in, taste it, touch it, see it, hear it, and embrace it. And with that, I leave you for the abundance of beach, sunshine, relaxation, and QT with the fam awaiting me, hasta luego amigos!

One Healthy Breakdown: slow down and enjoy the abundance that surrounds you.

Come on, Get HAPPY

I just watched The Happy Movie andI highly, highly recommend it. Here’s a few facts, tidbits, quotes, perspectives, and words of wisdom learned from this captivation of global happiness.

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  • “The Constitution only guarantees the American People the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” –Benjamin Franklin
  • Positive Psychology (the study of happiness) became the most popular class at Harvard.
  • Genetics determine 50% of happiness, circumstances determine 10%, and intentions determine the remaining 40%. Set intentions.
  • Dopamine naturally starts depleting after our teen years; however, positive experiences (like exercise, socialization, and love) produce dopamine in the body.
  • Tangible goods produce fleeting happiness; compassion produces long-term contentment.
  • We always have a choice to be happy, or not. When it rains, we can either hide or embrace it.
  • There is no such thing as pleasure without pain. Both are necessary to be happy.
  • While the United State’s economic growth has doubled, our happiness level as a nation has remained static.
  • The top consistency among happy people, both individually, and as a culture, seems to be a close, supportive family and friends.
  • Japan has been deemed the least happy nation due to stress. Japanese people have died from forcing themselves to be more efficient. Japan actually has a name for this, when the person’s heart just stops, due to nothing but exhaustion, is “Karoshi.”
  • Denmark has been labeled the happiest country. Danish citizens not only receive free education and healthcare, but also tend to co-habitate; numerous families will reside in small homes or apartments close together, decreasing solitude. There is always someone there to share conversation, a meal, and even pain. Families save time and money by sharing chores and benefits and there is constant socialization among all ages.
  • Instead of looking at society selfishly and thinking “what does he/she have that I don’t?” if we think “what do I have that I can give to others?” we would all constantly help each other and the world would be a better place. That is true community.
  • Fundamentalists, who build their life mission on hate and segregation, are proven less happy.
  • People live longest on Okinawa Island, the only part of Japan known for happiness. Community is the center of the culture. Citizens shared their secrets to longevity: hard work, lots of sleep, sweat, neighborly love, no harm to others, and…sake. They even bury people in one communal coffin to allow for infinite connection.
  • When humans are given the choice to choose competition or cooperation, we almost always choose cooperation. We find cooperation intrinsically rewarding.
  • One uniquely happy Bushmen tribe values each member’s individual wellbeing as one. When one member of the tribe is sick, the whole tribe unites for group-healing. One member explains: “being together, that’s what makes us happy. To laugh is very important.”
  • Compassion is part of our genetic makeup; it’s in our blood.
  • Intention can physically change your brain. Gratitude and acts of kindness have been proven to boost happiness on a cellular level. Happiness can be seen as a skill we must practice often.
  • Lifting others spirits makes life meaningful.
  • The formula for happiness = play + new experiences + friends and family + meaning + appreciation. All of which are free. Things we can all have.
  • The more happiness you have, the more everyone has.

One Healthy Breakdown: Watch The Happy Movie. Practice happiness. Every single day.