Deeply grateful…

Giving thanks“Expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better.”

In research on gratitude, done at the University of Florida, three separate groups were studied through weekly written exercises on particular themes: 1.) what had happened during the week that they were grateful for, 2.) daily irritations, and 3.) events that had occurred, emphasizing neither their positive or negative nature. 

“After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives.  Surprisingly, they exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.” Source: 11.01.11 Harvard Mental Health Letter

It’s almost as if the stress of life keeps us in perpetual motion.  Our modern-day lives whiz by so fast and furiously that we hardly take time to rest and breathe well, let alone stop regularly to count our blessings.  But as research shows, there are innumerable benefits of cultivating gratitude.

It’s somewhat easy to remember at this time of year, as Thursday’s holiday reminds us with its name.  But to seed Thanksgiving in one’s heart, and to tend to its growth, routinely and faithfully, seems to me a practice well worth initiating.

I’m going to give it a go…  I intend to follow the guidelines of the study mentioned above.  I’ll engage my journal weekly, with the specific purpose of identifying three – five things that went well over the past seven days.  And, as recommended, I’ll be specific and I’ll re-feel the sensations that arose when something good happened.  Here’s where double-dipping is encouraged

Care to join me in a 10-week journey?  When we meet again over this subject matter, let’s share.  I expect we’ll feel lighter, brighter, and a much stronger sense of well-being.  I’m thinking that to cultivate gratitude must be one of the most refined of the healing arts…

To your good health!

Photo credit: I, Luca Galuzzi



Welcome to Carrboro’s ultimate stress-free zone…

Beth Burke, LMBT, NCBTMB, Massage TherapistJust for this moment, unplug yourself from your norms. Take a load off. Take your shoes off. Peel your socks off! And feel the tension melt into your hot footsoak water.

As Anne Lamott says, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” There are innumerable benefits derived from creating sacred space and time for renewal. Imagine an hour that’s tech-free: no phone calls, no texts, much less stimulation… Feel your heart rate dropping? Your nerves settling?

Make a date with a friend for next week: an hour-long visit with phones turned off. Then, after you’ve sat across from one another, catching up with laughter and eye-contact, move around to the same side of the table and hold hands for a few minutes. Just be with each other. You’ve just created your own beautiful stress-free zone.