Make Thanksgiving every day

by Patricia on

It’s the last day of the Thanksgiving weekend. I find myself wondering how distracted people already are, with Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday online shopping sales tomorrow. Holiday shopping distracts us from “the reason for the season.” The season that began just after Halloween and ends sometime next year when the credit card bills are finally paid off (if they are!).

Being grateful for what I have and sharing that gratitude with others, thru emails, notes, cards, a kind word commending someone’s work, letting someone in front of me in the grocery line or on the freeway, makes a difference – one heart at a time.

Here’s some amazing info from the Heartmath Institute

The institute has been studying human emotions for nearly 20 years – among them gratitude and appreciation – emotions that are at the heart of an American holiday whose roots date back to 1621.

According to research at IHM, true feelings of gratitude, appreciation and other positive emotions can synchronize brain and heart rhythms, creating a bodywide shift to a scientifically measurable state called coherence. In this optimal state, the body’s systems function more efficiently, generating a greater balance of emotions and increased mental clarity and brain function.

The level of coherence you experience during feelings of appreciation can be measured by sensitive instruments. Coherence also can be measured using heart-rate variability (HRV) – the naturally occurring beat-to-beat changes in heart rate, which can be see in an electrocardiogram (ECG).

This method of measuring appreciation is much more precise than attempting to guess by observing how much someone is smiling. Measuring coherence can accurately show heart, brain and nervous-system interactions that are sensitive to changes in emotions.

While an individual – smiling or not – is experiencing coherence, the heart rhythm appears as a smooth wavelike pattern on an HRV graph. Contrast coherence with incoherence, created by negative emotions such as frustration and anger, which can often disrupt the synchronization of the body’s systems and create jagged or chaotic patterns on a graph.

Advanced research at the Institute of HeartMath and elsewhere has provided evidence that gratitude is not simply a nice sentiment or feeling. Sustained feelings of gratitude have real benefits, including the following:

Biochemical changes – Favorable changes in the body’s biochemistry include improved hormonal balance and an increase in production of DHEA, the “anti-aging hormone.”

Increased positivity – Daily gratitude exercises can bring about a greater level of positive feelings, according to researchers from the University of Miami and the University of California, Davis who studied this process in 157 individuals over 13 days.

Boost to the immune system – The IgA antibody, which serves as the first line of defense against pathogens, increases in the body.

Emotional “compound interest” – The accumulated effect of sustained appreciation and gratitude is that these feelings, and coherence, are easier to recreate with continued practice. This is because experiencing an emotion reinforces the neural pathways of that particular emotion as it excites the brain, heart and nervous system. The downside is that you also can reinforce negative emotions.

Thankfully, gratitude and appreciation can create their own positive psychophysiological holiday in your body – without the necessity of a feast.

Sincere self-evoked feelings of gratitude and appreciation, however, are the only ingredients needed, as explained by IHM founder Doc Childre and Director of Research Dr. Rollin McCraty in the e-book, The Appreciative Heart: the Psychophysiology of Positive Emotions and Optimal Functioning.

This publication, which can be downloaded from a special link ( by liking IHM’s Facebook fan page, explains how emotions are reflected in heart rhythms and creating a change in those rhythms can result in quick and substantial changes in whatever emotional state you may be experiencing.

Make a difference – be grateful!!

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