#DolphinsLiveWell: “Attitude of Gratitude”

As we head into the Thanksgiving break, we hope that you will be able to relax and rejuvenate during this time.  Over this short respite, it is our hope that you will spend time reflecting on all of the good things in your life.  It would be easy to come back and dwell on how stressful the next two weeks will be for you with regards to final projects, papers, and exams, AND at the same time, getting ready for the rest of the holidays and your break at home. One of the ways you can manage all of this is to recognize that even with all the obstacles, challenges, and struggles we may face, there are many more reasons to be thankful!


Expressing gratitude on a daily basis is an easy way to focus on the positive and not the negative, which in turn will make you feel better. Research shows that practicing gratitude on a daily basis not only helps us recognize and accentuate the positive and minimize the negative, but it also helps our physical and emotional health on a biological level.


According to research at Institute of Heart Math (IHM), true feelings of gratitude, appreciation, and other positive emotions can synchronize brain and heart rhythms, creating a bodywide shift to a scientifically measurable state called coherence. In this optimal state, the body’s systems function more efficiently, generating a greater balance of emotions and increased mental clarity and brain function.1  


In addition, practicing gratitude on a daily basis can inoculate you against being excessively vulnerable to life’s stressors, helping to create and promote resilience.  Over the next week, the Le Moyne College Wellness Center for Health and Counseling Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts (and yes, we have them so please like/follow us!) will share examples of ways gratitude can enhance your life and change your thinking! These include exercises you can practice, affirmations and memes you can copy and hang up, and other gratitude practices.


One way is to keep a gratitude journal that you can write in it anytime you want,  but finding something to be grateful for in the morning when you get up and something that you’re grateful for at night before you go to bed are excellent ways to improve your mental and emotional health. A different take on this exercise is to list the letters of the alphabet in a vertical column on the left-hand side of the page and then write down next to something you are grateful for that begins with that letter. This exercise will really help you identify many different things to be thankful for regardless of how small!. Lastly, you could keep a gratitude jar. It can be any kind of container that you fill with little notes identifying what you are thankful for…you can add them whenever you like and take them out and read them when you need a reminder!  Remember, you can express your gratitude every day, not just on Thanksgiving!