Health Benefits of Daily Gratitude | Wellness Connections
When November rolls around a lot of focus goes into the Thanksgiving meal. Putting it into perspective though: it is only one out of 1,095 meals in a year or 0.0009% of total meals in a year. It doesn’t matter if you eat too much in one day, it matters what you eat every day. Allow space and grace to gather and enjoy foods that only come around once a year.
There are no good foods or bad foods just foods that are more nutrient-dense than others and all can be included in a healthy diet. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule where 80% of what you eat in a day is nutrient-dense and 20% are fun foods or not as nutrient-dense. For a holiday meal it may shift to 50/50 while you balance out your holiday meal with other nutrient-dense choices throughout the day or week. Choose to savor the flavors of Thanksgiving and go back to regular eating the next day.
Try these tips to help you navigate the Holiday season well:
Make sure you drink enough water every day. It is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
Start with Protein – Rich Foods
Including protein in your first meal of the day helps reduce cravings and overall caloric intake throughout the day.
Eat Regularly Everyday
Starting with the fist meal of they day, aim to eat every three to four hours. Do not skip meals leading up to Thanksgiving dinner. Skipping meals deprives your body of the fuel it needs and leads to overeating overall.
There are many health benefits of movement. Find movement that you enjoy and do that. Make sure you give yourself credit for all the movement you do and look for opportunities to move all throughout the day (parking farther away, taking stairs, etc.)
The Health Benefits of Daily Gratitude
Making gratitude a daily practice can help to increase your happiness and have positive effects on your health. Gratitude is being aware of and thankful for things in your life whether past/present/future, material or relational. Sometimes gratitude is a spontaneous feeling and sometimes it requires being intentional. Choosing to be grateful has many health benefits.
- Increased positive emotions/happiness – Gratitude helps to release dopamine (the feel-good chemical in the brain) which increases positive emotions.
- Decreased stress – Gratitude also helps to lower cortisol (the stress hormone in the body) – lower cortisol levels help decrease and even avoid many of the physical and mental side effects of stress.
- Improved physical health – People who regularly practice gratitude report having fewer aches and pains and research indicates gratitude indirectly improves immune function and helps to decrease inflammation.
- Improved sleep – focusing on gratitude before bed can help improve sleep.
- Improves relationships – gratitude inspires giving back and support which improves relationships.
Ways to incorporate gratitude into daily life:
- Be intentional – Focusing your attention on the things you are thankful for, even just a few minutes a day increases gratitude.
- Say “Thank You” – A sincere thank you whether spoken or written will grow gratitude.
- Journaling – Daily make a list of 5 to 10 things you are grateful for.
- Say Grace – Give thanks through prayer and take a moment to be grateful for the provision of food and a nourishing meal.
- A little turns into a lot – Focusing your mind and thoughts on things you can be grateful for will help create gratitude for even more things.
Choose gratitude everyday and you will see improvements in mind, body, and soul.
Fall Fitness Routine
WRITTEN BY YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BOOTCAMP INSTRUCTOR
With the change in weather these days I find myself wanting options for workouts based on the weather conditions. I came up with the following workout that takes less than 15 minutes, maximizes time, can be adjusted easily, and done almost anywhere (I did this in my garage).
Using a stopwatch, your choice of dumbbells, and a mat here is how it works: Complete an exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, move onto the next exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 10 etc.
Not only do you get 10 seconds rest the next exercise allows your previously used muscles to rest. I like this workout because it maximizes my time. No starring off in the distance while sitting at a machine at the gym, no playing with radio or my phone, it is simply hard focused work.
Examples of exercises – bicep curl, tricep dips, push-ups, bent over rows, lunges, squats, sit – ups, planks etc.
Linda is our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist that uses a balanced approach to health and wellness, focusing on nutrition, movement, sleep, and connecting you with other appropriate health resources.
Linda understands and recognizes the courage needed to take the first step in caring for yourself and starting your own health and wellness journey. Learn more about Linda’s services like individual wellness and nutrition consultations, ministry and church wellness consultations, and group presentations here!
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