During the month of October, St. Mark’s is highlighting the virtue of Gratitude. Here is an introduction to our theme and some concrete ways that we are encouraging our community to join us in expressing Gratitude from our Parish Nurse, Debbie Belowitz.
Gratitude comes from the Latin word gratia which means grace, graciousness or gratefulness. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives. It helps people connect to something larger than themselves- other people, nature and God.
Benefits of Gratitude
1. Improves Mental Well Being
Studies have shown that practicing gratitude allows us to manage stress better, reduce depression and manage negative emotions.
2. Improves Physical Health
When we practice gratitude our bodies release a hormone (oxytocin) which expands blood vessels, reduces blood pressure, protects our heart, deepens relationships and helps us feel more connected to others. People who practice gratitude tend to sleep better because they are not lying awake going over negative thoughts and feelings, instead focusing on blessings which are more soothing.
3. Improves Relationships
Showing appreciation for others opens the door to friendships and new opportunities.
Tips on How to Cultivate Gratitude
- Keep a journal- write down 5 things you are grateful for each day.
- Write a thank you note or letter, including to yourself.
- Thank someone mentally.
- Make a gratitude jar, ask family and friends to write what they are grateful for and place in the jar.
- Be grateful for hard times, search for a lesson or benefit.
- Be a good listener
- Take a walk, use all of your senses to appreciate what is around you.
- Cook something you love and share it.
- Offer help to someone
Here are some links for further learning about the benefits and practice of Gratitude.
Gratitude at St.Mark’s
- Let us know what you are grateful for. There are “I’m Grateful Cards” on the information table , in the pews and in Sunday School. Children are welcome to draw a picture of what they are grateful for. Is there something you saw, heard or experienced that made you feel grateful? Place your card in the Grateful Jar and with your permission your thoughts will be shared with the congregation and on facebook- no names please.
- Come to the Seniors Service and Luncheon- experienced seniors, junior seniors and anyone who wants to be a senior is invited to attend.
- Follow these week by week suggestions:
- Week 1- Be grateful for animals- talk to the birds, chipmunks and squirrels in your backyard.
- Week 2- Be grateful for yourself. Consider your unique and personal gifts, your talents and how you use them.
- Week 3- Be grateful for nature. Take a moment and watch either a sunrise or a sunset. Take a walk in the forest and listen to the trees whisper.
- Week 4- Be grateful for music. Sing aloud, hum or whistle as often as you can and notice how you smile.
In Gratitude for Everyone at St. Mark’s
Debbie Belowitz RN