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Being thankful is good for your health

Posted 25 November 2013 at 12:00 am

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator for the Orleans County Health Department

Did you know being thankful is healthy? When you are optimistic or hopeful, you are also generally thankful for what you have. Thankful people also tend to think of what they can do for their community. They are generally healthier and they tend to heal quicker if they become ill or are injured.

If you tend to be pessimistic or negative, try to choose one thing to be thankful about and each day add something new. Being thankful and optimistic is your choice.

When dealing with the stresses or loneliness of the holidays, find a way to turn those feelings into something positive.

Consider the following tips to choose to be more thankful each day:

Talk with your family about what the holidays mean to you. Be honest about what you can afford and encourage everyone to give the more meaningful giftthe gift of their time.

Consider sharing stories about how thankful you were when someone helped you out, or when you helped someone out.

Share your gratitude with others by sharing your time with them. Take turns reading a favorite holiday story together, play board games or just enjoy one another’s company.

Volunteerthere are many options to volunteer. Ring the bells for the Salvation Army, volunteer at a soup kitchen, visit folks in a nursing home or who are shut-in. Helping others takes the focus off of yourself and you may make new friends.

Also, consider volunteering all year round, not just during the holidays as there are always folks who need help and it will make you feel good and more positive too!

Consider sending cards to members of our armed forces or to VA hospitals to thank them for their service.

Listen to and share joyful laughter.

Don’t forget to get in regular exercise – it helps keep the extra pounds from adding up and also relieves stress and gives you a brighter outlook.  Some ways to help get more exercise: park further away and walk, take stairs instead of escalators and elevators, and/or take time to play.

Finding ways to keep active 30 minutes each day for most days of the week helps with your appetite / digestion; you sleep better; and it helps keep you mentally focused.

Another way to consider being thankful is to participate in the 1st Annual Holiday Spirit 5 K Fun Run/Walk held on Saturday, Dec. 7. The course starts at the Albion Fire Hall on Platt Street. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and is $25. Race time is 9:30.

All proceeds from the race will benefit MHA of Orleans County to continue to provide a safe, drug/alcohol free drop-in center and peer-driven support groups for adults 18 and older.

For more information or to register, call Nola Goodrich-Kresse at the Orleans County Health Department at 589-3162 or e-mail Nola.Goodrich-Kresse@orleansny.com.

To get the ball rolling on being thankful, I would like to thank each of you for reading this column, for your comments and your column suggestions.  You are much appreciated! Thank you! So, what are you thankful for?