Mollie Mathews


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Feeling thankful

Date: 27th November 2022, Posted by mollie

If you celebrate Thanksgiving I hope you’re having a wonderful week, celebrating and giving thanks for all the wonderful things in your life. We don’t celebrate feeling thankful in New Zealand. I wish we did. I’m sure it would make a tremendous difference.

What I like best about the way people celebrate Thanksgiving is that it is a holiday dedicated to being grateful for our blessings and about rejoicing with family and friends. Personally, I have a mini Thanksgiving every night when I jot down in my Gratitude Journal all the things I’m thankful for.

There’s a staggering wealth of research that confirms gratitude is life-changing and so beneficial for our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health.

‘The benefits of gratitude start with the dopamine system because feeling grateful activates the brain stem region that produces dopamine. Additionally, gratitude toward others increases activity in social dopamine circuits, which makes social interactions more enjoyable,’ says neuroscientist Dr Alex Korb, author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression.

‘One powerful effect of gratitude is that it can boost serotonin,’ he continues. ‘Trying to think of things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This simple act increases serotonin production.’ And what does serotonin do? It makes you feel glorious, that’s what. He says it’s all about the bounty-hunting, rather than the actual finding. ‘It’s not finding gratitude that matters most; it’s remembering to look in the first place. Remembering to be grateful is a form of emotional intelligence.’ As the brain gets used to seeking out the positives, it becomes more efficient at finding them, he explains. ‘Then, it simply takes less effort to be grateful.

Stopping to think about who and what we are grateful for always makes my heart sing and improves my mindset. I love the quote by Anne Dowsett Johnston, author and award-winning journalist, “For several years now, I have begun each morning with a gratitude list, one that lists my challenges as well as my blessings – especially when I feel broken, which reminds me how much I loved and was loved. There is some strange alchemy associated with gratitude. Somewhere along the way of doing these lists, I fell in love with my life again.”

It is precisely what feeling thankful is about—whether you celebrate it with others or make it a daily habit. Holidays and spending time with family can be challenging, but gratitude can turn gravy into custard, and sweeten the moments we are not always keen on, into very special times of love, joy and peace.

I hope that if you are celebrating Thanksgiving that it is filled with joy and happy moments with those you love

With an abundance of thankfulness and gratitude,

love, Mollie

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