Dear CDA Families,
This is a time of year when many of us look forward to holiday dinners and gatherings with family and friends. However, for many of us, this may not be at all possible due to the continued uncertainty with COVID-19 and other challenges we may be facing.
As a matter of fact, according to a poll by Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half of Americans report the COVID-19 crisis is harming their mental health. I recall when the news first broke out about the pandemic, I noticed how much of my time became consumed by worry and negative thoughts. I had to quickly figure out how to take control of my mental and emotional wellbeing by practicing just the opposite: mindfulness and gratitude.
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it is always a perfect time to consider incorporating gratitude into your daily life. Gratitude goes beyond responding to someone with a thank you for a kind gesture they shared with you, like helping you carry the groceries or opening a door. It is about noticing the small wins every day that encourages you to look for the good in every situation. It is having the ability to express appreciation for the people and the shared moments you have with them.
As we continue to face unprecedented times during this pandemic, an economic crisis, and our enormous efforts to keep our children safe and healthy, it is no surprise that our mental health is being affected.
Therefore, living with a grateful heart will allow us to handle stress better and have a more optimistic outlook on life.
Studies show that people who practice gratitude on a regular basis report they feel happier, have lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.
They also report an increase in their self-esteem and positive emotions of empathy and compassion. In addition, they show stronger immune systems, fewer aches, pains, and sleep better.
I want to encourage you to incorporate gratitude into your daily routine by taking a few minutes out of your day to find new ways and/or things to be grateful for so that you can also experience all of the incredible benefits.
Experience Gratitude Daily with These Tips!
1. Gratitude Letter
Start by writing a handwritten letter to someone that has been there to help you in times of need. It can be someone that you are grateful for or someone you have not properly thanked.
Be specific about how much you appreciate their help, how they made you feel, and how they improved your life. Be sure to include all the wonderful and positive qualities they possess. Hand deliver if possible, to observe your generous acts and the reaction of the receiver.
Journaling is by far the easiest and most powerful gratitude exercise you can do. You can set aside a few minutes each day to write down three things you are grateful for.
You can write about good things that happened to you, even if you think they are small and insignificant. Or, you can write about the people that matter to you. The purpose of regular journaling is to help you reflect on your day and allow you to see the positive things in your life.
3. Be Fully Present
Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment whether you are meeting for coffee with a good friend, going for a walk around the neighborhood on a beautiful sunny day or simply enjoying a delicious piece of pie. Avoid overthinking and let go of your worries and fear.
Acknowledge the positive emotions you are feeling when spending time with your loved ones or when doing an activity, you enjoy. Express your appreciation for those shared moments. Live every day to the fullest and you will walk away strengthening your relationships and creating unforgettable memories.
4. Use Positive Language
We all have a unique linguistic style, the way you communicate and express yourself to others.
You can start by incorporating words such as grateful, fortunate, blessed, thankful, appreciative, and abundance into your vocabulary to help you focus on the good things others have done for you.
5. Practice Mindful Meditation
You can begin by practicing a simple 5-minute meditation exercise to boost your overall sense of wellbeing. Take deep breaths to help ground you in the present moment.
Visualize people or things you are grateful for. Take note of your surroundings, the emotions you are feeling, the scent and sounds around you.
End the exercise by carrying with you the attitude of gratitude throughout your day.
Living life with gratitude means practicing it regularly and making a conscious effort to notice and reflect on those things for which you are thankful. It is also important to find what works best for you so that it starts becoming part of your daily routine. I hope that these tips and exercises will inspire you into a new gratitude journey.
2. Local food banks are the best bet for free Thanksgiving dinners.
CONTACT: (858) 527-1419
- [LOCAL] or (866) 350-3663
- a. San Diego Food Bank
9850 Distribution Ave. San Diego, CA 92121
- b. North County Food Bank
1445 Engineer St., Suite 110 Vista, CA 92081
- a. San Diego Food Bank
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