CMC Corner: Develop an attitude of gratitude |

CMC Corner: Develop an attitude of gratitude

Becky Loth Luetke

This Thanksgiving, make sure you count your blessings — it is good for your health! Normally around this time of year, we are reminded to be thankful and grateful, and to reflect on the positive aspects of our lives. This wonderful holiday tradition should become a part of your everyday life.

Holidays can be wonderful, but they can also cause stress and depression. Research has shown that an attitude of gratitude can improve your health. Being grateful can help to decrease your stress and lessen depression. By taking a moment each day to focus on positives, you will decrease the effects of stress. Living a high-stress life or experiencing a prolonged stressful event can cause an increased risk for chronic disease, and some animal studies have shown that stress raises your risk for cancer.

To reverse this try spending a minute or two every day reflecting on what you are grateful for in your day or in your life. Studies have also shown improved sleep with an attitude of gratitude. So as you lie down to sleep, focus on three things you are grateful for and get a great night’s sleep.

Transitioning to an attitude of gratitude may seem silly and like such a small change that it will not make a difference. This small act can have a significant positive impact on your life and your health. Having an attitude of gratitude will help you become more resilient and relaxed, and your relationships will improve and deepen. With this attitude, your career can flourish with increased productivity and improved decision-making skills. When you focus on gratitude, you will find yourself having more energy, and battling the common cold will be easier and quicker.

There are a lot of ways you can include gratitude in your day. Consider starting your morning by focusing on one thing you are grateful for — just one. In that moment you are shifting your way of thinking to something positive and something joyful. When something is not going your way, stop for a brief moment and have an attitude of gratitude to decrease the frustration of the moment and regain your focus.

If you like to journal, consider adding gratitude to your daily writing. Write down what you are grateful for and challenge yourself to find one new thing to be grateful for every day. Your gratitude does not need to focus on the big things of life; they are great but so are the little ones. Consider all aspects of your life when you are focusing on gratitude: how was your morning coffee, did you get to enjoy a sunset or watch a baby laugh today, did you have a great dinner or enjoy a wonderful walk in the cool evening air?

If you are able to incorporate moments of gratitude into your life, you will start to notice subtle changes as your overall health improves. So please enjoy this season with an attitude of gratitude and then continue to be grateful and enjoy all of the benefits!

Becky Loth Luetke is a professor of nursing at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs-Spring Valley.

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