Several years ago, my husband became very ill. All of a sudden, his blood pressure shot up into the unhealthy stroke range. For several days, nothing the doctors did seemed to bring it down. I was filled with worry and dread. I began to miss appointments, not return phone calls or emails, and would find myself in tears while driving. I was a mess and, for the most part, unconscious about what was happening to me. I now believe I was falling into that deep hole called depression.
A good friend of mine stopped by my husband’s hospital room one day with a gift for me. “This is a gratitude journal. I want you to reflect on all of the blessings in your life right now and jot them down. I think it will help both you and Fred,” she said.
I didn’t feel very blessed at that time, but agreed to give it a try. That night, as I wrote, the dark, heavy feelings began to lift from my heart. I realized that I have been blessed.
Since then, I have filled many gratitude journals. I believe we all benefit from cultivating an attitude of gratitude. And, for high school seniors stressed out by all that’s required in applying to colleges, such as:
- ACT or SAT
- Visiting Colleges
- Completing College Applications
- Writing essays
- Practicing for College Interviews
Keeping a daily gratitude journal may just help you manage your stress and anxiety. You may even begin to enjoy the whole college process!
A recent study at Dartmouth looked at gratitude and its relationship to health and mental well-being. Their findings support my theory that everyone benefits from gratitude!
- People who keep weekly gratitude journals exercise more regularly, have fewer physical symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and feel more optimistic about their upcoming week, as compared to those who keep journals recording the stressors or neutral events of their lives.
- Daily discussion of gratitude results in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, energy, and sleep quality and duration. Grateful people also report lower levels of depression and stress, although they do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.
- People who think about, talk about, or write about gratitude daily are more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or offered emotional support to another person.
- Those with a disposition towards gratitude place less importance on material goods, are less likely to judge their own or others’ success in terms of possessions accumulated, are less envious of wealthy people, and are more likely to share their possessions with others.
- Emerging research suggests that daily gratitude practices may have some preventative benefits in reducing coronary artery disease.
Researchers at Dartmouth also discovered that our thoughts can actually trigger physiological changes in our body that affect our mental and physical health. Basically, what you think affects how you feel (both emotionally and physically). So, if you increase your positive thoughts, like gratitude, you can increase your sense of well-being.
In this month of Thanksgiving, I am grateful to:
- YOU for your continuing support
- YOU for the faith and trust you place in me
- YOU for your friendship
- YOU for your laughter
- YOU for allowing me to partner with you in shaping your future
I wish you much health, happiness, turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie this month!
If you need any support with the applications, essays, FAFSA or scholarships, get in touch. I can help.