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A Month of Gratitude

Last November I challenged myself to share one thing a day that I was grateful for. By the end of the month it felt great to have had a month of memories and was able to reflect on all of the things in my life that I do cherish - both big and small.

This November I’m challenging myself again, and I hope you take the challenge with me. You decide how you want to track your month - a paper journal, an app, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, something else I'm not cool enough to know about? What’s right for you?

I was reminded about this idea after reading an email from Chris Kresser talking about negativity bias and how we can hep to rewire our brain to pay more attention to the positive things that happen to us and that we have in our lives.

"Writing down what we’re grateful for on a daily basis shifts our attention away from negativity and toward positivity. This changes the wiring in our brain, which in turn leads to changes in gene expression and cellular function throughout our body (Eric Kandel won the Nobel Prize for this discovery in 2000)."

As humans we are hardwired to focus on the negative side of things, from an evolutionary standpoint that makes sense, but we're no longer living in a time where focusing on the negative things is going to be the difference between life and death. So we have to work to change the way our brains think, to help us as humans focus, remember, and give more prominence to the positive things. And one way of doing that is through a gratitude journal. Chris Kresser referenced this 2016 pilot study in his email article that showed an increase in health (through reduction of inflammation and a decreased stress response) for the group of patients that used a gratitude journal.

Now that there are tangible health benefits on the line as well, are you willing to give it a try with me? For the month of November, a month that feels very appropriate to focus on what we are thankful for I'll be sharing a post a day on Instagram (follow me, @lpappas01 here) and I'll be posting with the hashtag #30daysofthanks I'm also trying out an app called Grateful: A Gratitude Journal which gives you a prompt everyday to help you track what you're grateful and thankful for, and allows you to capture a picture, set reminders, and even export to a PDF which could be a lot of fun to track.

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