Can gratitude make you leaner?

I just saw this story post on Facebook:

The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind. older_woman_ice_cream

She was moved into a nursing home today. 

When told her room was ready she smiled sweetly as she was provided a visual description of her tiny room. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. 

 “Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.” 

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up.

I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.” 

She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories Thank you for your part in filling my Memory Bank. I am still depositing.” 

And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy: 1. Free your heart from hatred. 2. Free your mind from worries. 3. Live simply. 4. Give more. 5. Expect less.”

(Disclaimer I did not personally write this beautiful story.

I was moved by it and wanted to share. Photo by Dina Goldstein) 

 The story reminded me that November is a great month for gratitude – with Thanksgiving coming it’s a great time to recognize the good in our lives and what you are thankful for.

Expressing gratitude is an essential part of recovery. In psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.

Simply put, the happier we are, the faster we recover from stress – and the less stress we have, the less body fat we gain or retain.

Here’s how:

Positivity helps us tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, or “PNS.”

The PNS is the system that relaxes us and calms us down.

Activating the PNS lowers stress hormones (cortisol) that make us store fat.

Cortisol is our friend in times of “fight or flight”, but it is our enemy if we’re not being chased by a lion. When cortisol is high ALL the time (like when we’re bombarded with stress) cortisol makes us store fat.

The more positivity we have in our lives (like expressing gratitude) the more we can dampen the effects of cortisol.

So, express gratitude and soak up the positivity: you’ll be happier and leaner!

Here are a few ways you can express gratitude in your day: 

  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Write a thank you note
  • Thank someone in person
  • Pray
  • Meditate

My challenge for you this month: Write down one small thing that you are grateful for every day. 

If you want, join me in posting it on Facebook or send me in an email once a day until Thanksgiving. Saying it out loud or putting it down on paper is one of the best ways to express gratitude!

Remember each day is a gift!  The more gratitude you share the happier you will be and it will pass on to others around you!

My Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my sweet baby girl Ella, who truly is a bundle of joy!

I feel better already!!

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