What lies behind us, and what lies before us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within you
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Call to Gratitude
Tis the season to be mindful! The holiday season is upon us and like that popular 1963 Christmas song - it's the most wonderful time of the year! No matter what backgroundor traditions you celebrate, this is a season of festivities, spending quality time with loved ones, and sharing in memories that will last a lifetime. The holidays are also a time for reflection, acknowledging achievements a year's worth of achievements, and recognizing good things in our lives. For this reason, we must create time for gratitude.
Gratitude is about being thankful. It is both an emotional experience and an actiev process. Practicing gratitude is not only a great way to be mindful of what's positive in our lives, but it can also prepare us for success in the year to come.
Gratitude is indeed a virtue. When put into practice, gratitude has a way of reinforcing its own benefits. Practicing gratitude is often taken for granted because many of us are unaware of its power. Much more than vanity or modesty, gratitude is about the recognition and appreciation for who we are and what we have. It is about recognizing the present as an intersection between the faith in your past and hope for your future and should be cherished as a gift. We express it by affirming where we are in our lives in the present moment.
It turns out that among its many benefits, practicing gratitude is a great way to alleviate stress. When preparing for success, demonstrating gratitude is a process that enables us to see the present as the best way to orient our perspective and have insight. Too often, we hold on to stress needlessly because we aren't focused on what's happening around us in the present moment.
Metaphorically speaking, being present-focused reminds us to 'stop and smell the roses' and helps us remember to take a moment to appreciate those we love, things we treasure, and places we can't live without.
When we allow ourselves to be taken out of the present we are doomed to fall into one of two kinds of traps. We either replay events from the past in our minds repeatedly or we have pervasive urges to anticipate the future, stuck inside a maze, worrying what's going to happen next. Both patterns of thinking are self-destructive because of the anxiety and tension they generate. Not only making us feel uncomfortable it can also affect others around us. Because it is impossible to alter the past or forecast a future event, having thoughts consumed by such things in an unfulfilling and exhaustive exercise. When we engage in these destructive patterns over time, our minds will invariably start to shows signs of fatigue causing you to feel 'stressed out.
In this time of gift-giving, we can all try to be more present-oriented by simply looking under the proverbial tree of our lives to see what we were given this year. Whether its family, close friendships, a stable career, fulfilling relationships, a much-needed vacation, a new perspective, or a new beginning, the joy and cheer of the holiday season is an experience that is unrivaled to any other time of year.
Check out this article from Psychology Today about further benefits of gratitude by clicking here!
In addition to being Medical Director of Latitude Mental health, Dr. Hoes is Co-Host and Producer of the SportsPsychMDs podcast. A weekly broadcast about the emerging field of Sports Psychiatry dedicated to improving mental health, performance, and well being in sports for athletes and those interested in mental heatlh and mental performance. Through his podcast, Dr. Hoes highlights how psychiatrists approach and manage mental health conditions affecting performance. SportsPsychMDs also educates the global sports community about the importance of mental health for competing at a higher level. This podcast was started to spark dialogue and promote conversation about mental health, specifically how performance can be enhanced by understanding and protecting one's mental health.
SportsPsychMDs aims to spread awareness and use their platform to change the narrative around mental illness. The mission of this podcast is to empower athletes, inspire the sports community, and create a more effective narrative to end a painful legacy of stigma regarding mental health.
In Episode #18 we talk about the importance of practicing mindfulness, being more mindful, and how mindfulness unlocks the power of gratitude.
Gratitude can be said to be a gateway to alleviating stress by developing lasting peace of mind. One of the best things about having additional time off is taking the opportunity to reflect and review. In light of this, we have a small challenge we encourage you to partake in this holiday season:
After making your list, take a moment to review the things you wrote. Whether its birthdays, anniversaries, family gatherings, weddings or graduations there are always things we can and should be thankful for when they happen to us.
We can all look back to a time in life when we felt stuck. This can be the case when we have thoughts without momentum. Things with momentum have purpose and direction. When thoughts lack momentum they have no reliable way of moving forward. Thoughts without purpose and direction that do not move forward get trapped inside our heads, occupying space and consuming energy in the form of rumination which is draining and tends to intensify stress.
Examples of thoughts that lack momentum are the ones stuck in the past or anticipating the future. What these thoughts share in common is that they represent that which is beyond our realm of control. Some of us may spend considerable time focused on things they have no way of preventing or influencing. When we are being mindful, we are most concerned with what's happening in the present and are therefore able to appreciate our experience as it happens. Doing so empowers us to maintain focus on what matters the most, the things we can control (like how we respond to what's happening around us).
When we lose sight of what we have in the present, we allow ourselves to be distracted by external forces that compel us to second guess ourselves or invalidate our emotions.
This year, let's not lose track of the moment. Instead, let's all take time to "stop and smell the roses." Let's practice being more mindful, appreciate what we've been given and not concern ourselves with what we don't have. Shifting our focus to what we have and a thankful mind set will provide the momentum needed for a joyful holiday and a successful new year!
What is the opposite of gratitude? Disatisfaction. This video dives into the problem of dissatisfaction and how we can manage it!
More than likely, Sheri will be the first point of contact you have as a member at Latitude Mental Health. Whether it's an email or a text, Sheri loves hearing from clients and finding ways to support them through her role as Latitude's Medical Support Specialist.
Because of this, it comes as no surprise that Sheri is a firm believer in the value of kindness, patience, and consistency. No task is too small when ensuring clients are receiving the highest quality of care at Latitude. Intentionality is at the forefront of her work as she is in close communication with Latitude's Doctors, Coaches, and Therapists to support every single client's journey through wellness.
In the Spring of 2020 Latitude Mental Health is launching a 12-week mindfulness course on developing wellness entitled Navigation to Wellness. This program is about building inner resilience through wellness. The program features an instructional lecture series, useful guides & tips, and coach-mediated exercises. Through this program, members will learn strategies that aim to enhance personal growth for those seeking to overcome performance related obstacles and challenges. This is done by overcoming deficits, developing inner strengths, and promoting core values. To learn more click here.
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