Gratitude

Trouble Sleeping? Sprinkle a Little Gratitude into Your Life

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May You Wake With Gratitude

Here in Canada, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to get all nerdy on you and present some pretty great reasons to start infusing gratitude in your life.

The land that Canada is on was originally occupied, and cared for beautifully, by indigenous people. Since this land was taken over without negotiation, we Canadians could at least be grateful for the life that this land has given us. There is nothing worse that first world problem whining in a land of such prosperity. Ok, said my piece on why gratitude should be a given, but since it still seems to be a difficult task to master, let me tell you what a attitude of gratitude can do for your nocturnal angst.

Often the reason why people have difficulty getting to sleep, and sometimes remaining asleep, is what you think before you go to bed. Scared, fearful, anxious, freakout out thoughts keep you in a state of “fight or flight” in your brain. Seriously! Your brain kinda needs you to be alert if you are gonna use your fists or your legs to run away. So, my suggestion is to do the following:

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Brain Nerd

Sleepy PsychNerd

There are some pretty smart, researchers at the University of Manchester in England who looked at how gratitude might affect people’s snooze time. Their study included over 400 adults of all ages, even some with diagnosed sleep disorders. They asked these folks to complete questionnaires about gratitude, sleep and pre-sleep thoughts, and these people provided some pretty cool information that resulted in the data being smooshed into patterns and trends that showed that gratitude was related to having more positive thoughts, and fewer negative ones, at bedtime. What this means is that gratitude leads to dozing off faster and sleeping longer and better.

Study Results

*With nerdspeak translations

Gratitude was uniquely related to:

  • Total Sleep Quality: multiple measures of how you slept such as brain waves, duration, self-report of how you slept, etc.
  • Subjective Sleep Quality: how you thought you slept
  • Sleep Latency: fancy word, in sleep science, for the length of time that it takes to accomplish the transition from full wakefulness to sleep.
  • Sleep Duration: how long you slept as observed by sleep scientists.
  • Daytime Dysfunction: your amount of sleep mixed in with how well you function during the day.

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Practicing Gratitude

Here is an awesome resource, with a free APP :), to get you started on the magical infusion of gratitude in your life.

UNSTUCK: A Practical Guide to Gratitude

You can even get weekly free tips sent right to your email. Seriously, stop whining and start noticing what is going well in your life and you will start to sleep better (an then be less whiny). Even I get whiny at times, but I really try hard to balance my negative thinking with expanding my life view by forcing myself to also see what is going well. Trust me, it works 🙂

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Sleep Strategies

Surround your gratitude with healthy sleep habits.


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I wish you all a weekend of getting some gratitude swirling around your brain . This is the first step to better snoozing’ 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

 

References

Wood A.M., Joseph, S., Lloyd, J., Atkins, S. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 66  43–48

Gratitude: Shift Your Brain and Shake off Some of that Turkey Haze!

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In Canada, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. Instead of just filling your belly with yummy comfort food and napping, this is a great opportunity to take a moment and also feed your brain. Fill it with alternative ways of thinking that promote wellbeing and can reduce symptoms of depression while you are at it. Build, develop and foster some gratitude neural pathways in your brain!happiness-via-gratitude-quote_daily-inspiration


Not Convinced?!?

Here is the science…

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.

Check out this video where Dr. Emmons reveals the power that gratitude has to transform our lives and offers tips for cultivating it.


Ok, I can feel you slipping into a deep turkey coma because you are not completely convinced as to the value of thinking in a grateful way. Well…


Brain Nerd

Ok, you asked for it!

I will now have to get all PsychNerdy on y’all!

Dr. Norman Doidge, a Toronto Psychiatrist, has done some pretty extensive research on brain function, particularly in the area of Neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. All you need to do is exercise your brain in the right direction. He says that neutrons that “fire together, wire together”.

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So if you are participating in Thanksgiving family activities and all you can think about is what is crappy about the situation, the neutrons firing for “Thanksgiving” are wiring with”crappy”. Wouldn’t it be better to change your perspective to “what is going well?”, “what am I grateful for?” or “I am so lucky to have [fill in your blank]”?. This way the next time you see a turkey you will associate it with good things 🙂


Gratitude Fostering Strategies

  1. Perspective Shaping: Start with reading this amazing list of questions”50 Questions That Will Help You Feel Grateful and Good About Life” that will get that sluggish brain ticking along a gratitude path.
  2. Reframing: Consciously reframe something that you initially perceived as negative into an opportunity to be grateful. Come on, try it! Find that silver lining. Notice how you feel when you think the negative thought and notice how you feel when you shift over to the positive.
  3. Curb the Urge: Try catching yourself every time you are about to complain about something and then W.A.I.T! Stop and ask yourself “Why Am I Talking”? Ask yourself “Can I say nothing?” or  “Can I say something positive instead?”
  4. Gratitude Letter: This is not the same as a “thank you note,” a Gratitude Letter gives you an opportunity to examine the happiness and meaning that you get from a relationship in your life, write it down, and share it with that significant person. The cool thing here is that it’s not only a gift to the recipient, it’s a gift to yourself. The process of pondering and realizing the good things in that relationship and the positive impact in your life is so beneficial for your wellbeing. Check this out and get started -> Gratitude Letter Ideas.

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All you programmers and coders out there are well aware of the following phrase:

“Garbage in-Garbage Out”

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This works the same for your brain. Feed it well…


Come on, shake yourself out of that turkey stupor and try feeding your brain some gratitude and start feeling better in your life. Show up, lean in and create the life that you want. Be grateful that you can change your brain! #NeuralPlasticity It is up to you!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from CANADA!

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Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca


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