Give Thanks

November is National Gratitude Month, and learning how to become more resilient this season with thoughts of appreciation is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical well-being. An attitude of gratitude will not only make your life more fulfilling, but it can also increase your life expectancy and reduce the need for some medications.

Science shows when your body is in a state of gratitude, you feel less pain, produce fewer inflammatory markers, and enjoy a lower heart rate and blood pressure. An attitude of gratitude will allow you to become a magnet for abundance, and the sooner you start, the faster you will see the results. 

Gratitude exercises are simple, and you can perform them anywhere, any time, through a practice called present moment awareness. An attitude of gratitude can be as simple as being thankful for your breath, a warm sunny day, access to clean drinking water, or a beautiful smile from a loved one. 

By Kristina Cadwell

Thoughts become things, and where your focus goes—energy flows. Thoughts provoke action, and thoughts turn on and turn off inner energy that keeps us safe and allows us to maintain homeostasis. 

To demonstrate how powerful thought can be, spend the next two minutes participating in a simple exercise. Sit down in a quiet space and begin to think about your favorite dessert. What does it look like? Does it have whipped cream and sprinkles or chocolate frosting and candles? How does your favorite dessert taste? Sweet, salty, creamy, or is it crunchy and savory? Almost instantly, you experience joy. 

Gratitude feels good

Your brain releases oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine, and a feeling of euphoria runs down your central nervous system. You salivate, anticipating sugar hitting your tongue. This simple thought, your favorite dessert, ignites a cascade of signals that encourages organs to release feel-good hormones, flooding your bloodstream with protective signals that increase mental productivity, promoting healthy metabolism, boosting creativity, and supporting your immune system. 

Now think about a recent headline that made you upset. What did the headline say? Who was involved? Did you experience sadness or anger? Your brain signals your adrenals to release cortisol and adrenaline, and your heart begins to race. You feel an increase in blood pressure, tears pool in your eyes, and you feel an uneasiness in your stomach. Your thoughts release a cascade of "fight or flight" protective hormones — soldiers, if you will. These protective "soldiers" are welcome in small doses. But when your body overuses them to "battle," they can cause collateral damage such as adrenal fatigue, memory loss, hyperglycemia, hypertension, and reflux. Frequent negative thoughts can accelerate the aging process and suppress your immune system. 

Now that you have spent the last two minutes thinking about two completely different scenarios, can you see how choosing one thought over another changes physiology? Your awareness itself gives you tremendous personal power. You can harness negative thoughts by simply changing focus to more positive and empowering thoughts. You can choose to gravitate towards thoughts that bring joy and health, that encourage wellness within. Negative thoughts and scenarios will happen, however, and should not be wholly avoided. But by developing skills and habits that allow you to recognize specific thoughts as limiting, you have more control over your reaction, and you equip yourself with the ability to change focus at any time, and thus the ability to change your internal experience. 

Count your blessings

With the holiday season approaching, take time to reflect on and be grateful for all you have. You possess innate wisdom bequeathed to you by your ancestors and mother earth. Enjoy it. What you focus on—grows. Thoughts of gratitude and abundance awaken your superpowers. Use them to thrive. 

For the next 30 days, try challenging yourself to focus on abundance by starting or ending the day with a gratitude journal, prayer, or an acknowledgment stated out loud. Focus on three things you are thankful for. When we live life with an attitude of gratitude, we are happier, healthier, smarter, and more resilient. There is no time like now to tune into what the universe has to offer, to create abundance, and to release protective hormones to grow wellness within. 

If you are looking for additional ways to create a vibrant life, or simply need to elevate your vibe, see us at Vibrant Skin Bar. With a cornucopia of health and wellness tools and tricks at our fingertips, we are here to help you grow, heal and thrive. We wish you and your family the warmest of holiday seasons. 

Kristina Cadwell, M.S., PA-C, founder and CEO of Vibrant Skin Bar & Vibrant Vitality Clinic in Arcadia, is a wellness leader with more than 17 years in family practice and medical aesthetics. She also is a certified instructor in a myriad of treatments, delivering aesthetic and wellness care through comprehensive diet and healthy living practices that result in vibrant skin.

Vibrant Skin Bar
(480) 422-2058


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