Spilyay Speaks: Healthy gratitude

gratitude-and-abundanceThe holidays are a time of celebration, an opportunity for many families to come together, share a meal and exchange gifts.

But for many families, the holidays are a time of stress as many struggle to meet the basic needs. If you are struggling, it can be a challenge to maintain a positive attitude about this time of year.

But did you know that expressing gratitude is good for your health? Writing daily in a gratitude journal or penning a thank you letter to someone you never properly thanked boots your mood and if done over extended periods of time, has a positive impact on psychological, physical and social health.

Expressing gratitude is also beneficial to our relationships – when we do it, we can see how we are supported and affirmed by others.

Being thankful allows us to see the good in the world, the gifts that we have received, the abundance that is around us. This doesn’t mean that the world is perfect because we will have challenges and burdens to carry. However, expressing gratitude allows us to see the goodness in life as a whole.

When we are intentional in this process, it also allows us to recognize the sources of goodness, most often outside of ourselves – a kind neighbor, a thoughtful friend, a beautiful sunrise, a child’s laughter. We understand that our lives our intertwined with the world, all life upon it, and one another. We are inter-dependent.

This year, I started my first gratitude journal. This journal sits on my desk and I’ve tried to jot down something each day that I’m grateful for. While I haven’t been as diligent as I’ve hoped with my entries, the exercise has been grounding and uplifting.

Writing in a gratitude journal is a great exercise for anyone and doesn’t require a lot. All you need is a journal, a pen, and a few moments each day to write down something you are grateful for. I challenge you to join me in writing daily in your gratitude journal and would love to hear from you about the experience.

Gratitude is a behavior that we all need to cultivate; it makes us healthier, happier and helps us to see the true meaning of the holidays!

Spilyay Speaks is a bi-weekly column written by Alyssa Macy, a Warm Springs tribal member and communications strategist. She can be reached at alyssa.macy@wstribes.org or on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.