It’s no secret that our mental health and physical health are strongly tied together. Keeping a calm, focused, and well-rested mind leads to lower stress levels, improved breathing patterns, and better sleep quality – all of which have a strong correlation to improved long-term health and disease prevention.
The emotion and personality trait most strongly linked to mental health and life satisfaction is gratitude:
From the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
“Not only is gratitude a warm and uplifting way to feel, it benefits the body as well. People who experience gratitude cope better with stress, recover more quickly from illness, and enjoy more robust physical health, including lower blood pressure and better immune function.”
Creating a daily gratitude practice is a practical way to improve your mental and physical well-being. Books like The Five Minute Journal and apps like Think Up have daily prompts and an easy structure to help build a gratitude practice, or you can easily create your own system.
Create your Own 3-Step Daily Gratitude Practice:
Use any notebook or notepad to list:
- “I am grateful for…”
- 5 things for which you’re grateful (anything and everything – leave your ego out of it).
This holiday season we encourage you to start taking 5 minutes out of your day to stop, reflect, and record for whom and what you’re grateful!.. And don’t stop there. Reach out to an old friend, lend a stranger a hand, let someone know in person how much they’re appreciated, or what it is that you appreciate about them… It’s the right thing to do, and it’s better for your health :).
We’d like to finish this post with a letter of gratitude from 4B Coach and 4B:30 Program Director Dustin Detzer.
Dear 4B family,
I hope you are healthy, happy, and have peace in your heart. I’m writing to let you know that I appreciate each and every one of you. Without you, I couldn’t do what I love for a living. Without you, I couldn’t be truly happy, as I wouldn’t have anyone to serve. Thank you for showing up and putting in the effort to improve yourself- mentally, physically, and socially. Our evolutionary biology, or “ego,” projects the illusion of separateness; however, in reality, we are all part of the whole. Everything and everyone is interrelated. By showing up to class you’re not only making yourself better, you’re making everyone around you better. Your children see your example; your friends, colleagues, and family all see what is possible. Your effort and intention are a beacon of light in our cynical and nihilistic culture. I am honored to have the opportunity to assist you on your journey. I want to share a practice with you that is near and dear to my heart. A practice, that when applied consistently, will shepherd you through any type or scale of adversity you may encounter…even a 21 Minute EMOM that includes 10 cal Echo Bike sprints. 😉
“The great open secret of gratitude is that it does not depend on external circumstance. It’s like a setting or a channel that we can switch to at any moment, no matter what’s going on around us. It helps us connect to our basic right to be here, the way the breath does. It’s a stance of the soul. Gratitude is the kernel that can flower into everything we need to know.
Sit quietly and close your eyes. Bring to mind the past day. Walk through it, hour by hour or minute by minute, noticing what you are grateful for: friends, family, clouds, trees, a loving email, a memory of childhood, watermelon, being alive. Breathe in and out with full, deep breaths.”
– From the book “Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Loving and Dying” by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush