With its wicked winds ripping all the glorious color off trees and sending it fleeing down the street, November can appear incongruent to its theme of gratitude, especially this year.
It seems difficult to summon thankfulness as days and tempers grow short, and many of the things for which we are most grateful seem so far away.
Ah, but that its reciprocal gift.
The act of feeling grateful automatically improves our mood, like an appreciation boomerang.
When we express gratitude, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they enhance our mood immediately, according to an article I recently read on PositivePsychology.com.
Research has shown that cultivating gratitude releases toxic emotions, reduces pain (due to the dopamine), improves sleep quality, aids in stress regulation, and reduces anxiety and depression.
Seems like the perfect antidote to November.
Some of the happiest people I know are also the most honestly grateful. They find their own joy in ordinary miracles like unexpected sunshine and a cheerful hello.
We can be anxious about a polarizing election, or we can be grateful for the right to vote. We can grieve the empty chairs around our holiday table, or we can be thankful for the happy memories we made there.
November will always have its particular challenges, this year more than many others. That’s why it’s the perfect month to honor gratitude.
Happy November! I’m grateful for you.