journaling     Hi there, Darling Hearts! I’ve been a busy bee the past few weeks.  I took a life-changing class in Craniosacral Therapy, spent an evening seeing a comedy heroine, and am about to check another bucket-list show off of my list in a couple of days. Since I didn’t want to leave you high and dry, here is the latest article I wrote for Inner Child Magazine.  Speaking of gratitude, I’m pretty dang thankful for the ability to write for such a cool publication.  If you haven’t checked them out yet, please take the time to peruse the website.  There are some very talented and beautifully kind-hearted souls over there.  I’ll bet you’ll find something to tickle your fancy.  Have a lovely week, everybody!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

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With Thanksgiving being just around the corner, it’s not uncommon for people to focus their thoughts on thankfulness. That feeling of warmth and happiness we gain when we gather around a holiday feast and share the things we have been most thankful for is doing more for our health than we realize. Scientific research points to the practice of keeping a gratitude journal as a viable way to maintain health and good feelings year round.

 

In April of this year, the American Psychological Association published findings which showed that those who practiced gratitude on a regular basis experienced a better overall mood, slept better, suffered from less fatigue and experienced lower levels of inflammation, as it related to cardiac health. Dr. Paul J. Mills of the University of California took 186 men and women in Stage B heart failure and split them into two groups. One group received regular medical care and wrote down things each day that fostered a feeling of thankfulness, while the other group only received regular medical care. The group that utilized a gratitude journal and wrote down three things they were thankful for daily for 8 weeks not only had significant overall improvement in their health and well being, but experienced a marked improvement in the inflammatory response that contributed to their heart disease.*

 

Two leading researchers in the field of Positive Psychology, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, conducted a study in which their participants were split into two groups and asked to journal weekly for 10 weeks. The first group was asked to review their week and write about things that upset them or caused them stress and the other group was asked to write about things that they were grateful for during their weekly review. When the 10 weeks concluded, those who wrote about the things they were thankful for were overall more optimistic and had a better outlook on life. Interestingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor than the group who focused on stress and annoyances.**

journal and phone

Ready to get started cultivating gratitude? You don’t need a doctor to start this healthful and helpful practice. You don’t even need a traditional journal. While many enjoy the tactile experience of handwriting their blessings into a beautiful blank book, others may enjoy keeping an on or offline journal of their thoughts on a computer or tablet. There are even phone apps which allow you to take a moment for gratitude literally anywhere you may be. The tip amongst researchers and writers that stands out the most? No matter which platform you choose for your writing, focus on quality vs. quantity. The more specific you can be about the qualities of the person, place or thing you are thankful for, the better benefit it will have on your overall well being and the more it seems to generate similar feelings of gratitude for other things in your life. Happy thanks-giving!

 

 

 

*http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/scp-0000050.pdf

 

**http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/pdfs/GratitudePDFs/6Emmons-BlessingsBurdens.pdf