Healing Through Art & Travel
Kristen Kantounatakis, MA, AT
Founder of Artful Expeditions
kristeno23@yahoo.com
330.921.1234

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Benefits of Gratitude

Let Us Whine No More Or At Least Much Less

I cannot have all of my wishes filled

Whine, whine, whine!

I cannot have every frustration stilled

Whine, whine, whine!

Life really owes me the things that I miss, Fate has to grant me eternal bliss!

And since I must settle for less than this

Whine, whine, whine!

                          -Albert Ellis (Sung to the tune of The Whiffenpoof Song by Guy Schull)

Good Morning, Fellow Self-Seekers!

There is something to be said for this little poem written by psychotherapist, Albert Ellis. Negativity only gives way to more negativity, and if one could flip the switch to look at the world through a grateful lens rather then an entitled one-it is guaranteed to lighten the general atmosphere around you! Gratitude, like any other skill one wants to develop, must be regularly practiced in order for one to reach full potential. However, unlike practicing many other skills, the results are practically immediate! Admittedly, there may be times when it is quite difficult to identify the positive aspects of certain situations (sometimes they are only identifiable in retrospect), there is always something-any tiny shard counts.

Challenging ones self to find gratitude changes one's perspective, and helps to sweep away the petty annoyances of our day-to-day that conjure feelings of impatience, intolerance, passing judgement, anger, and resentment all of which take a lot of energy and drag ourselves and each other down. According to Dan Mager, author of Some Assembly Required, research based benefits of regularly practicing gratitude include but are not limited to:

•    Gratitude facilitates contentment. Practicing gratitude is one of the most reliable methods for increasing contentment and life satisfaction. It also improves mood by enhancing feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm, and other positive emotions. Conversely, gratitude also reduces anxiety and depression.

•    Gratitude promotes physical health. Studies suggest gratitude helps to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, reduce symptoms of illness, and make us less bothered by aches and pains.

•    Gratitude enhances sleep. Grateful people tend to get more sleep each night, spend less time awake before falling asleep, and feel more rested upon awakening. If you want to sleep more soundly, instead of counting sheep count your blessings.

•    Gratitude strengthens relationships. It makes us feel closer and more connected to friends and intimate partners. When partners feel and express gratitude for each other, they each become more satisfied with their relationship.

•    Gratitude encourages “paying it forward.” Grateful people are generally more helpful, generous of spirit, and compassionate. These qualities often spill over onto others.

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Kristen Kantounatakis MA, AT