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Begin The Year With A Grateful Heart!

2022 was a year when country borders started to open up after the height of the pandemic. People started to travel and most were able to meet their love ones after two years of lockdown. It is a sign of hope that we are starting to move forward from this calamity.

But it is not easy. A number of people also suffered from depression and anxiety the situation brought. According to studies, the new challenge that we are facing after this pandemic is the rise of mental health issues. But I believe that we will be able to win over this silent enemy.

Scientific research supports a connection between gratitude, mindfulness, and mental health. For instance, psychologists Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough studied gratitude and found that people who wrote about the things that they were grateful for are people who are more optimistic and who feel better about their lives. Researchers from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania observed that managers who thank their workers end up helping the workers feel motivated to work harder. ADAA Past President Karen Cassiday, PhD, ACT confirms that over "fifteen thousand studies have proved the power” of gratitude in improving "mental and physical health." In short, gratitude can lead to better overall health. (Gurley, The Science of Gratitude: 5 Easy Practices for November).

As we move forward to a new year, 2023, let's look back on what happened to us in 2022 and reminisce the things we are grateful for. Here are some practices that you can do:

1. Start writing a journal.

I have my journal for several years now on where I wrote my thoughts, feelings, what I've been going through and prayers.

I already filled my 2022 journal with my thanksgiving, my challenges and the things I've been through in that year. As I review my journal, I can see God's goodness, both in my joys and my sufferings.

If you haven't done so, I encourage you to have your journal. Write down the things you are thankful for as well as whatever thoughts or emotions you have. Be truthful on yourself, you don't need flowery words while writing in your journal. Be your authentic self and express through writing.

There are some people who do it creatively by using stickers or drawings in their journal. Try out which one best suits for you!

2. Create your gratitude list.

I created a program and a template where you can list down the things you are grateful for.

Check this site for more details and to download the template. It comes with a PDF which contains daily, weekly and monthly page for you to print out and also an image file that you can edit and post to your social media.

3. Send a thank you note to someone.

Make another person happy and appreciated by sending a thank you note to them. This will help them to be motivated. Sending a thank you note gives you energy as well. When you encourage someone, you will be encouraged as well!

4. Thank God through prayer.

We wouldn't be able to do things without God in our lives! And this is something that I have proof of myself. His grace sustains me most specially in the difficult times. And I am forever grateful for what He has done to me, even in the midst of the challenges and pain.

I challenge you to start being grateful and see how it will create a positive impact to your life!

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