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Executive Director's Message: Expressing gratitude could be good for body and mind

Thursday, November 29, 2018   (0 Comments)
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Each November, three holidays — Election Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving — serve as reminders of the importance of gratitude. This month we express gratitude for our democracy and our ability to participate in it, gratitude for those who have served our republic in the armed forces, and gratitude for fall’s great harvest.

But as we gather with friends and family, this season also provides a wonderful opportunity to take a step back and think about the many things in our own lives, both personal and professional, for which we are grateful.

And doing that seemingly small thing can have real impact in our lives.

A developing body of research confirms that gratitude is actually good for you. Even the simple practice of taking a few moments each day to express that gratitude, in whatever way you may choose, can relieve stress and provide real benefits to your health.

Professor Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, is one of the nation’s leading experts on gratitude. His research has found that practicing gratitude can actually reduce an individual’s lifetime risk for depression, help you exercise more and even reduce your blood pressure. [1]

That’s something worth considering in a profession where close to 30 percent of us are experiencing some level of depression and nearly 20 percent are suffering from anxiety. [2] 

So this month, as we are surrounded by traditional public displays of gratitude, perhaps we should all take a moment and commit to developing our own personal practice of being grateful. It just might be good for us.

[1] UC Davis Health (November 25, 2015). Gratitude is Good Health. https://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/2015-2016/11/20151125_gratitude.html

[2]  Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation (February 3, 2016) Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Release First National Study on Attorney Substance Abuse, Mental Health Concerns. https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/about-us/news-media/press-release/2016-aba-hazelden-release-first-study-attorney-substance-use