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The Power of Gratitude

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This is the first in a series of articles from area mental health and wellness professionals that will appear in The Kohler Villager.

By Kate Baer, MA., Executive Director of Mental Health America in Sheboygan County

Positive psychology research attributes gratitude to increased overall well-being, healthier relationships, elevated optimism, stronger self-control and even greater happiness, all leading to improved physical, emotional, and mental health. While many of us associate gratitude with simply being thankful, science tells us gratitude is much more than that. It is a deep appreciation for a person, place, thing or concept, producing a positive emotion. Sounds great, right?  The question then becomes, how does one cultivate more gratitude in their life? Check out these tips to creating a life of gratitude:

Peace begins within

Self-compassion is treating yourself as you would a loved one or dear friend. Send yourself reassuring, loving and kind thoughts during times of stress and struggle. Make self-care a priority.

Take note of the little things in life

Less is more; take note of the simpler things of life. During daily activities, stop to use all five senses to take in the present moment without ruminating on yesterday or worrying about tomorrow.

Share the love and watch it grow

Being intentional in sharing our gratitude is great practice. Each evening, take time as a family to share what you are grateful for; share the BIG things and the little things. This allows us to connect with one another and feel each other’s deep appreciation for all things.

Make lemonade…when you can

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or, when life gives you lemons, take a moment to cry about the lemons, acknowledge you’re missing some sugar, and then move on. Allow yourself to see more clearly what’s right in front of you, like the pure bold beautiful color yellow of that lemon. The sugar will taste all the more sweeter when you stop by the neighbors.

Mental Health America in Sheboygan County is a nonprofit mental health resource center. In her role with MHA, Kate Baer teaches on a variety of subjects related to emotional health, resilience, suicide prevention, and greater happiness.

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