Using Your Faith to Practice Mindful Gratitude

It’s a familiar memory for a lot of Americans: sitting around the table for Thanksgiving dinner, each person taking a moment to mention the things they’re grateful for. Unfortunately, being grateful seems to be something we’re reminded of only once a year on the holiday.

When it comes to practicing gratitude, many of us fall short. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, with the difficulties that life throws to us on a regular basis. We start to focus on our troubles, then wonder why we’re often so tired or unhappy.

Practicing mindful gratitude, and being thankful for things all year long, will improve your life in several ways: it will improve your physical health, your mental health and your relationships. If you’re a person of faith, you can use your faith to improve your gratitude in the following ways.

Improved Physical Health
Gratitude helps improve your physical health in numerous ways. According to a 2013 study published by the journal Personality and Individual Differences, grateful people experience fewer aches and pains, and were more likely to take care of their health. Improved self-care will have a positive impact on your willpower and mood, and help you sleep better.

Improved Mental Health
Regularly practicing gratitude can help you learn to appreciate yourself more. By being grateful for your blessings, you’ll look less enviously on the special trips and occasions of your friends in your social media feed. Avoiding negative thoughts will help bolster your self-esteem and keep your mood lifted. Gratitude can also help ease depression as you stay mindful of reasons to be happy and appreciate the positive things in your life.

Improved Relationships
Saying please and thank you shows good manners, but it also exhibits a positive attitude that can attract new people into your life. Showing appreciation will not only lead to new friendships, but will also help improve existing ones. As you practice gratitude on a regular basis, recognizing the positive in the people in your life and letting them know, you’ll create loving, long-lasting bonds.

Finding reasons to be and stay grateful can sometimes be challenging. Life can often test us in ways we feel we’re not quite prepared to handle. But leaning on your faith in times of trial can give you the edge you need to practice gratitude regularly. The benefits to mindful gratitude are so numerous, it’s well worth the time and effort to make practicing mindful gratitude a priority in your life.

 

If you’re looking for guidance and direction on how to practice mindful gratitude, give our office a call today. One of our specially trained staff will be more than happy to help.

How to Find New Purpose After Losing Your Faith

For people of faith, their belief system is an important aspect of their life and who they are as a person. It could be a faith that was cultivated in them since they were a child, or one that they found on their own in adulthood. However we find our faith, as we move through the world and experience life, we inevitably come upon trials that test our beliefs.

If you’ve come to a point in your life where you no longer hold on to traditional beliefs, or your religious teachings have been challenged and you no longer believe in them, you might wonder how you can create renewed meaning in your life that will fill the void left by your loss of faith.

Find Healing
When you lose your faith, you go through a process of grieving. How deep the grieving is depends largely on how ingrained faith was in your life. If losing your faith means losing friends and regular gatherings, it can be very difficult to heal. You can heal through this loss by finding a friend to talk to; particularly one who has experienced a similar loss. Talk to like-minded people online, through a support group, or with a licensed therapist.

Find Peace
Finding peace is another important aspect in moving forward after losing your faith. It will help greatly to quiet your mind, and stop from dwelling on the past. Thinking about how you lost time by believing something you no longer believe in, or thinking about how you were lied to growing up will only bring you discomfort and inner turmoil. Quiet your mind through meditation, cooking, crafting, gardening or a long walk through the woods, concentrating only on things you can see, hear, smell, and touch. You can also try donating your time through volunteer work, or helping out a friend or loved one in need with some simple tasks.

Find Meaning
After a loss of faith, you must find new direction for your life. As the lyrics go to an old song, “the best things in life are free.” Paradoxically, you’ll find that the best way to find new meaning is to simply enjoy the little things in life. Enjoying the breeze during a walk in the park, feeling wet sand between your toes as you take a stroll along the beach, savoring wine with friends in front of an open fire.

When you’ve lost your faith, it might feel as though your life no longer has meaning. The truth is, you’ve just lost your way a bit. The road you were on may have closed, but the directions haven’t changed.

 

Are you struggling with your loss of faith, and need guidance and encouragement to move forward? A licensed professional can help. Call my office today and let’s schedule a time to talk.

How Meditation Can Help Manage Symptoms of Trauma

Meditation offers practitioners powerful benefits, yet many people are confused as to what exactly those benefits are. In a nutshell, meditation focuses attention in a deliberate manner, taking you from a state of noisy mental chatter to calm and quiet inner peace. And isn’t that something most of us could use?

While meditation has been practiced for thousands of years in the east and – more recently – west as a way to grow spiritually, modern medicine is now finally extolling the numerous health benefits that meditation offers.

Meditation has the ability to reduce stress hormones by calming the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. These systems are what activate our main panic responses (“fight,” “flight,” “freeze,” or “friend”) to stressful situations. Because of this, meditation can be a wonderful coping strategy for those suffering with trauma.

Is Meditation Better than Medication

Historically, people battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been given medication to help alleviate unwanted and unpleasant symptoms. But a new study has found that regular practice of meditation enables some active duty service members battling PTSD to reduce, or even eliminate their need of psychotropic medications and to better control their often-debilitating symptoms.

This is great news for service men and women, and anyone who is battling PTSD. Not only can meditation help to calm your nerves and rewire your brain, it can also reduce the risk of developing negative side effects to many psychotropic medications used to treat PTSD and anxiety disorders. Beyond memory loss and erectile dysfunction, one of the biggest side effects of these medications is depression. That’s the last thing a person suffering from PTSD needs.

How to Begin a Meditation Practice

If you are suffering from the effects of trauma and would like to try meditation, here are some steps you can take to get started:

Find a Group Practice

If you’re completely new to meditation, you may want to join a group meditation course that meets every week. You can usually find groups in your local area through online communities such as Meetup.com.

Be Open Minded

Meditation has long been associated with new age movements. But you would be amazed at the different kinds of people that now practice meditation. If you tend to be a skeptical person, try to have an open mind as you begin your practice.

Be Patient

It’s called a practice for a reason. You won’t “get” meditation overnight. You’ll have to keep at it before it becomes natural for you and you really reap the benefits. Try to have patience and just keep at it.

 

If you or a loved one are suffering from trauma symptoms and would like to speak with someone who can help, please get in touch with me. I’d be happy to discuss the treatment options that would work best for you.


Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201601/meditation-reduces-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-symptoms

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201306/how-does-meditation-reduce-anxiety-neural-level

https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/01/13/transcendental-meditation-shown-to-ease-veterans-ptsd/131167.html