Webinar: The Power of Gratitude

You can watch more of our past webinars on our Youtube.

00:04 Introduction

04:57 Seven Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

6:24 (1) Gratitude Opens the Door to More Relationships

7:21 (2) Gratitude Improves Physical Health

8:44 (3) Gratitude Improves Psychological Health

11:34 (4) Gratitude Enhances Empathy and Reduces Anxiety

12:48 (5) Grateful People Sleep Better

13:49 (6) Gratitude Improves Self-Esteem

16:40 (7) Gratitude Increases Mental Strength

17:40 Gratitude

20:03 Special Focus: Serotonin

25:45 COVID-19 Gratitude Video

31:45 Seven Days to Cultivate Gratitude

38:50 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

43:03 Gratitude Journalling

44:55 Review: Why is Gratitude Worth Practicing?

50:00 References

00:04 Introduction

Hillary: Hello again, thank you for coming. So, today we’ll be learning about gratitude. Because it is an incredible, incredible tool. Some of you may already practice gratitude in your day to day life and some of you may need a bit of a refresher. I think this is always a topic even though I’ve studied it myself and the research on it is pretty good. It’s always something to come back to. I do a lot of journalling and I find that it’s quite useful to be able to put into words pen to paper, what you’re grateful for because it really does change your brain chemistry. So, Janina is one of our cherished staff at Edgewood Health Center, or Edgewood Treatment Centre in Nanaimo, BC. We are EHN Canada, a.k.a. the nation’s premier provider of addiction and mental health treatment and so we have facilities across the country. We have Bellwood in Toronto, we have Sandstone in Calgary, we have Edgewood in Nanaimo, we have Clinique Nouveau Départ in Montreal, and we wanted to give you the gift of bringing on some mental health experts to share some of their pearls of wisdom. So, Janina is going to present on gratitude today and I’m going to do a little bio for her. So, she’s been in the mental health and addiction field for over 15 years and Janina is in recovery and she has been for 22 years and whenever I’m in the presence of people in recovery, I feel incredibly humbled. So, thank you for being here today. Janina is a registered clinical counsellor. She has her Master of Arts in counselling psychology, and she’s been working at Edgewood for several years, and she works with the family members in the family program at Edgewood, and she helps patients and their family members learn and use tools for their own healing journeys. One of which is gratitude. This is a topic that she shares with family members, and she’s going to share it with you today. Yes, we’re grateful to have excellent medical care. That’s a wonderful thing to be grateful for and so without further ado, I’ll let you take it away you, Janina.

Janina Barnett: Hello, before we start talking about gratitude, I just want you guys to check in using the chat with one word. Where you’re at right now with one word. Open was one thing that was said. Acceptance. Lost, bliss, overwhelmed, grateful, struggling, anxious, neutral, present, worried, overwhelmed and in depression. So, I’m going to continue, one common word that came up was overwhelmed. So, that’s not uncommon and when I mention gratitude, it seems weird to be grateful for something like a global pandemic. But sometimes it takes something like a global pandemic to shine a light on the things that are important to us. The things that we took for granted, like hugs, dental cleanings, grocery shopping with the family, dining out and simply being in the close proximity of other people. Hopefully, you guys, the participants will take away the idea that though we are currently isolated, we’re not necessarily in isolation. Though we are alone. We need not be lonely, and we can support each other through this. We are supporting each other through this at a social distance of course. In terms of a specific outcome, well, it would be nice if we kind of had injected ourselves with more gratitude. A different perspective. Maybe just feeling a little bit more okay with where we’re at right in this moment. Even if we’re not okay. As it is okay to be okay and we are getting through this, it’s just messy. So, gratitude can be viewed as a light that shines the way through the darkness. 

04:57 Seven Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

So, I have the chat on so at any point in time, you guys can ask me questions using the chat feature and I’ll do my best to respond in a timely fashion. So, sometimes knowing the “why we do things” can answer the “how we do things.” So, Amy Morin wrote an article in Forbes magazine 2014 about seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitude that will motivate people to give thanks year round. Though she wrote this article like five-and-a-half years ago, and it was around American Thanksgiving, it still can be applicable now. Being grateful throughout the year, being grateful throughout this global pandemic can have benefits to our quality of life. So, I just want to state something, I’m not saying that we ignore the issues that are happening in our lives and that are happening globally. What I am saying is that we acknowledge not only our pain, but also our gratitude as well. Both things can be true at the same time. Even if they do seem contradictory, they could still hold true. In fact, Amy states gratitude, may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day, cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time. But the benefits are enormous. Research reveals gratitude can have these seven benefits. 

6:24 (1) Gratitude Opens the Door to More Relationships

So, the first one, gratitude opens the door to more relationships. So, not only does saying thank you, it’s good manners, but it also helps in terms of winning friends. A study in 2014 published in Emotion, it found that thanking new acquaintances made them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So, if you thank a stranger for holding your door or if you send a quick thank you note to maybe a colleague who helped you on a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities. 

7:21 (2) Gratitude Improves Physical Health

Also, gratitude has been linked to improving physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains. So, gratitude improves physical health. People who are more grateful tend to report feeling healthier than other people and that’s according to a 2012 study in Personality and Individual Differences. Grateful people are more likely to care for their health. They exercise more often and they’re more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors, which tends to lead to further longevity. So, one of the things I said is sometimes knowing the why can lead to the how. So, in terms of gratitude, one way I can cultivate gratitude is by exercising for those of us who regularly exercise or who may not exercise regularly, and then go out for a jog or go out for a walk, within minutes, I know, I experience when I go out for a jog and I haven’t for a while, I’m like, wow, this is great and so gratitude improves health. In a way, what I’m also saying is it could be vice versa. So, if I exercise regularly, I am likely to be more grateful.

8:44 (3) Gratitude Improves Psychological Health

Gratitude improves psychological health. So, it reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Emmons the PhD, he’s a Leading gratitude researcher, he’s conducted myriad studies on the link between gratitude and wellbeing. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. So, this is also known as having more joy, more optimism and higher level of positive emotions. Oh, yes, one of the comments was, and like exercise, gratitude is a practice. Totally, gratitude is practice and I also want to say it’s always moving. It’s not necessarily constant. I mean, it’s something too that I can cultivate as well. You know what they say in terms of practice makes better and also, I want to say too in terms of being aware of it, and also being grateful for the pain, I know there’s a lot. I’ll share a little bit about my experience. In terms of depression, I was never officially diagnosed though I was informed that I had minor depression. Minor didn’t feel minor at the time. That being said, I’m grateful for the experience because it made me. I wasn’t grateful when I was in it. But now, I look back and it’s led me on this journey that I’m on right now and I’m here today because of that part of my story. Now in recovery, when I’m experiencing something painful, there are moments where I’m actually able to be grateful because I know, I will get through it. I know I am getting through it. It’s just messy. I know I’ll get through it and I know I’ll be the better for it. I also know I’ll be able to help people. So, sometimes when I’m in the mess of it, it helps me remind myself that I can help others and I will get through this and I am getting through this.

11:34 (4) Gratitude Enhances Empathy and Reduces Anxiety

Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. So, grateful people were found more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others are unkind, and this was according to a 2012 study at the University of Kentucky. So, the study participants who ranked higher on the gratitude scales we’re less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback, they experienced more sensitivity and empathy towards other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge. So, one of the things that comes to mind is a common practice that is in self-help groups, which is if you have resentment, you actually pray for that person. So, this is kind of along those lines, where if I pray for that person, if I extend gratitude and kindness for that person who I believe wronged me, then I am more likely to let go of the revenge and more likely to be grateful. More likely to experience compassion and generosity. 

12:48 (5) Grateful People Sleep Better

So, another thing in terms of gratitude, a benefit. Why? Is because grateful people sleep better. So, one journal study in 2011, Applied Psychology, found that when individuals did a gratitude journal, they were better able to sleep and I also want to see again this kind of ebb and flow, where if I’m grateful, I have better sleep. I also want to say it is way easier to be grateful when I have better sleep. In my head I kind of think of like a catch-22 or constant circle, an ebb and a flow.

13:49 (6) Gratitude Improves Self-Esteem

So, the sixth benefit, is gratitude improves self-esteem. So, in 2014, a study was published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology and what they found was that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance. Then other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons, rather than becoming resentful towards people who have more money or better jobs, which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem, grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments. One of the slogans that I’ve turned to that I heard in the rooms was, “the only person that I can compare myself to safely is myself.” So, for me, I use these slogans and when I was comparing myself to others and getting resentful, and I caught myself doing it, I would say this slogan and it would help me snap out of it. Then another slogan that helped me when I started comparing others is, “when I compare myself to others, I’m comparing my insides to other people’s outsides.” Now, I can’t see you guys right now, but I’m sure you guys look good and so when I judge myself, I’m judging all the mess that’s in here. All my ups and downs, all my past history, all my judgment that I have in myself on how you are outside, you guys look good. So, in that when I remind myself, I’m like, oh, okay. Alright, because everybody has a story to tell every, like a lot. Like, I’m not alone. I’m messy, you’re messy. Well, maybe you’re not. You’re not messy. But like, I’m not alone. I’m part of the human race. Yeah, I’m part of the human race. I’m not alone in my suffering. Okay and here’s another one. I have a comment and like exercise gratitude is a practice. Yeah. Gratitude creates space, while fear-based stuff is constrictive. Totally. Yeah. Okay, gratitude on that note, I just had a thought like gratitude is freeing and a lot of gratitude allows me to take fear by the hand because I used to let fear stop me. I can think of gratitude as helping me take fear by the hand and having fear walk with me through this journey. 

16:40 (7) Gratitude Increases Mental Strength

So, gratitude increases mental strength. So, for years research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it also plays a major role in overcoming trauma. So, in a 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy, it found that Vietnam War vets with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower levels of post-traumatic stress and then in 2003, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks in September 11th. So, recognizing all that we have to be thankful for even during the worst times in our life, foster’s resilience, like now, in terms of the global pandemic, like now. Oh, okay. Yeah, so one comment here.

17:40 Gratitude

Actually, let me get off. One comment here is with regard to the subconscious is so powerful that that person has been struggling with a deeply seated sense of not being okay. All the gratitude lists in the world don’t seem to penetrate. So, there’s a couple of things with that. Persistence is key. I don’t know if you’ve ever been told that you’ve been stubborn. If you’ve been told that you’ve been stubborn, that’s a good thing, because you can use that persistence towards the forces of good. Also, in terms of gratitude, when we say affirmations, it’s good to say affirmations that you believe in. So, in terms of gratitude, it could be like, I’m okay that like, I’m okay I’m not okay, or I’m not okay and that’s okay. Yeah, so in terms of the gratitude, it’s good to start with a small thing that you are grateful for. So, the question is, do I think that some people are naturally more grateful than others? Well, yeah, I mean, yes and no. So, we are born with certain traits that may be more beneficial to being grateful. However, I believe that gratitude can definitely be learned. If I look at my personal and professional experience, I’ve seen people who weren’t grateful become grateful. I’ve seen it happen over time, and I’ve seen it happen. So, we all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. So, the idea is taking a few moments to focus on all that we have. Rather than complain about all the things that we think we deserve. Developing an attitude of gratitude is one of the simplest, and I’m going to say probably most difficult ways to improve our satisfaction with life.

20:03 Special Focus: Serotonin

So, to tie it into brain, addiction, chemicals. Emily Fletcher, the founder of Ziva, it’s a meditation training site, she mentioned in one of her publications that gratitude is a natural antidepressant and the effects of gratitude when practice daily can almost be the same as medications. It produces a feeling of long-lasting happiness and contentment, the psychological basis of which lies at the neurotransmitter level. When we express gratitude and receive the same our brain releases dopamine and serotonin which are two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions. They make us feel good. They enhance our moods immediately making us feel happy from the inside. By consciously practicing gratitude every day, we can help these neural pathways to strengthen themselves and ultimately create a permanent grateful positive nature within ourselves. So, serotonin is the slow acting feel-good neurotransmitter. It is associated with safety, sleep, social connections, serenity, calmness, satisfaction, nesting, charity work, family, alcohol, drugs, and gratitude. 

Notice how I kind of snuck in alcohol and drugs? Because serotonin stays in the brain for a long time, and practicing gratitude activates the serotonin, it is the safe and long-lasting way of getting a hit to the reward system part of the brain. It gives you slowly what your addiction gives you or gave you quickly. So, I want to state a note on this comment that I just made. In my early recovery, I was at a function and at that time I was smoking. So, I was sitting outside having a cigarette totally eavesdropping on this other person’s conversation. This person was saying how, when they were using drugs, they had this fake spiritual experience. So, they experienced joy and they experienced gratitude and it was fake. They didn’t do the work. So, they got this gift without doing the work. So, they paid for it. They paid for it through the damage and the destruction that drugs and alcohol cost and then in recovery, this person said that he did the work. He did the work through the steps; he did the work. In terms of going to meetings, doing the steps, talking to the sponsor, he did the internal work, so that when he had the spiritual awakening, when he had gratitude, it stayed, because he already did the work and so I think of it as kind of similar, like when I am grateful, when I practice that art or that habit then it stays because I’m doing the work. 

Okay. So, one of the comments. This fear of never being able to feel better, so I’ll answer it without reading the whole thing. I’ll answer it to the best of my ability and the long and the short is, as I said, before about how I was grateful for suffering with depression and the reason why is I believe it led me into my recovery early, because I was seeing counsellors and I was seeing therapists and one of them mentioned, go to a meeting. I also want to say that it’s helped me because it was like the cloud was always there and I wanted the sunlight. It just drove me. So, in terms of this fear of never getting better. I would encourage you to, again, take it by the hand and have it walk with you and then in terms of hearing people say that, like the naysayers. For me, in my experience, my personal and professional, is finding someone who is a “yaysayer.” For my story, and I’ve heard others people’s stories in terms of sponsorship, that with a sponsorship, they were able to develop that relationship with someone that helped them move forward and since we’re talking about gratitude that helped show them how to be grateful. Okay. Yeah, one one person said, this reminds me of the happiness equation, as you’ve already won the lottery. I’m definitely writing that down and looking it up later. Okay. Yeah, and then gratitude ties into service the best high of all, yeah, altruism, totally. Okay. So, we’re doing good on time. 

25:45 COVID-19 Gratitude Video

Okay, so, I’m going to attempt to show a video and it was actually created towards the beginning of the global pandemic. So, some of the screenshots are of people together. Which kind of is like well wait, but this is what it looks like now in terms of one example here on the left-hand side of your screen the picture with the women in their cars social distancing. So, just keep that in mind while you’re watching this video and I am going to stop this. 

Voice-over: Thank you for shaking us and showing us we’re dependent on something much bigger than we think. Thank you for making us appreciate the luxury we lived in. Abundance of products… freedom… health… and realizing we were taking it for granted. Thank you for stopping us to make us see how lost we were in the “busy-ness” not having time for the most basic things… Thank you for allowing us to put aside all our problems we thought were so important… and showing us what is actually important. Thank you for stopping the transport. The Earth was begging us to look at the pollution for a very long time… …we didn’t listen… Thank you for all the fear. It has been a global disease for years but not many of us wanted to face it and now we have to face it and learn how to embrace it with love and with the support of our community. Thank you for this revaluation of our lives. Thank you as we finally understand what it means that we are all connected. Thank you for the unity between all of us. We knew the world has to change. Thank you for helping us undermine everything and giving us a chance to build a world from the very beginning. This virus is part of us it’s between us, in us it connected us all, either physically or energetically. Gratitude supports the immune system but also lets us see things from many perspectives and it’s up to us which perspective we will choose, but best is to be aware of all of them.

Janina Barnett: Okay, so now I just wanted to take this time to answer any questions at this point in time or any comments on the video. Yeah, anything that came up for you any comments you can send in chat with question and answer. So, one of the things that I wanted to say with regard to that last part is it says “things will never be the same.” I’ll share a personal experience with you, after 9/11 happened. So, I observed 9/11 and I forget several days, maybe even weeks after the event. I was just walking to my doctor, Queens, New York, and I just broke down on the side of the street. I remember vividly, like I was just crying in a fetal position on the street in New York and the light was shining. I remember the green grass and I made a call to the crisis line and I was speaking to the individual and this person said something that just resonates with me and I use it in my professional life as well. Where I said, I don’t think it’ll ever be normal again like how I can get back to the way that things were and this person said it’ll be a different kind of normal. So, yeah, things are changing and yes things are chaotic and mayhem and things will also slow down and they will be a different kind of normal and actually right now the state we’re in, it is a different kind of normal right at this moment. So yeah, the video makes me sad. That’s why I showed those pictures for me, because when I watched it, I was like, oh, man, that’s the way it was and then I reminded myself well now I can still see people through Zoom. I can still be connected with people and I think in many ways, it has connected people. Closer and on a deeper level. Oh, and then the happiness equation again “want nothing, do anything, and have everything.” So, I’ll continue back with the gratitude. In terms of gratitude, we talked about the why and so now we’re going to talk about specifically the how.

31:45 Seven Days to Cultivate Gratitude

So, this is kind of like seven days to cultivate gratitude. So, let’s say on Monday, the first day you can find a positive and a negative thought. So, for example, I hate the bare trees, and then a gratitude statement would be if trees weren’t bare, I wouldn’t have seen the woodpecker and so how I view this is actually in terms of one of the things that I’ve heard that just came up was like first thought, wrong thought. Now, I don’t know if that’s necessarily true, especially in what I’ve seen in terms of my recovery. Where sometimes now my first thought is like a helpful thought. That’s taken me years and years of time, and I’ve seen other people do it too and that’s taken them persistence, dedication, in terms of being aware of when they have a negative thought and changing it to a more helpful one. Then what happens is, the more time that they practice, the more likely that the helpful thought is the first one. So, in this case I shared already about finding a positive and the negative thought, in terms of the struggle, like why is this happening to me? And that thought can be changed to, well, how is this for me? 

Okay, so then on Tuesday, you can focus on humility. So, gratitude requires humility, and humility is being modest and respectful. So, what did I do or try to do that showed modesty or respect? And I know we talked about being kind to others like, I want to say opening the door maybe not so much now, but being kind saying thank you and giving someone a compliment, or praise. 

Then on Wednesday, give at least one compliment to either a person directly or by sharing your appreciation of someone for something. I kind of already said that about the day before. So, actually, I will say I’ll go back to Tuesday. One way that I can act in terms of being honest is by asking for help, I can ask others to help me and, in that way, and I can be grateful for the help that I’ve received. Then also I can also offer help. 

So, then on Thursday, sound genuinely happy when someone greets you, they will feel valued, and it will reflect back on you. So, this kind of reminds me of that expression, fake it till you make it about putting on that smile. Now, let me tell you, there was, unfortunately, I don’t know the name of the research, but I do know that what they did was they had two conditions. One condition involved like a pen or pencil, they put the pencil in the mouth and one condition was like, that was the smiling condition and the other condition was put your lips around it. So, that was the frowning condition and then what they did was they gave a questionnaire after and they determined that those people that were in the first condition the smiling condition reported a significantly happier mood than those that were in the frowning condition. So, what they found is when we smile, again, the muscles sends messages to the brain and that happy chemical neurotransmitter is released and we actually are happier and so in terms of sound genuinely happy, smile when someone greets you, or calls you or Zooms you. Or because we are in social isolation, just smile randomly throughout the day. Sure, maybe look at yourself in the mirror and greet yourself so it’s a little less weird. 

Then Friday vow not to complain, criticize or gossip. Describe a moment when you almost did one of these things but refrained from doing so. So, one of the things about gossip is it puts us up as like I am better than and it’s really in essence kind of like that fear about, I’m actually worse than. So, again, it’s hard to stop gossiping, because it kind of is fun, but it just has that negative blowback. Then also like if we refrain from complaining or criticizing then, I actually can be proud about that and congratulate myself. 

So, on Saturday when you find yourself in a negative situation or judging something as bad, ask yourself if there’s anything that you can learn or take away from the occurrence. So, again, this idea instead of saying that things are happening to me, well, how are they happening for me? What can I learn from this? 

And then the last one, so on Sunday, do a small act of kindness for someone with or without that person knowing, being grateful that you can be helpful and are needed so I’m smiling because in early recovery, it was recommended that I do this and I’m laughing because I bought Diet Coke for my roommate, Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke, and I wasn’t supposed to say anything and I lasted like maybe two days or three days and then I told her that I bought it and she’s like, oh yeah, I noticed. In my head I was like, well, why didn’t you say anything. But for me like, that’s not the point. Sometimes I do do things and on purpose, I don’t say anything. Yeah. 

38:50 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

So, other ways to cultivate gratitude is a gratitude check-in so to write in your journal three things that you are thankful for. Throughout my recovery, I’ve been part of groups like an email chain or a text chain, where I’ll send it to the group and then they’ll send it to me and vice versa. Again, so it’s that reading the gratitude, it primes the brain to think of these positive ways of thinking, these positive words right. Then a gratitude letter. You can write a letter to someone who’s influenced or touched your life in a positive way. Someone who’s inspired you or who has been especially kind and caring. Like you could deliver this letter. You can deliver the letter in terms of email or like snail mail and then have that person read it through Zoom and you get to see that person’s face as they read it. So, if it’s not possible to deliver the letter then the act of writing it has proven benefits as well. 

Oh, so one comment was how the universe is the greatest cheerleader. It’s always working towards the greatest interest and often looks in the opposite of what I think is for my greatest interest. Yeah, very true. In terms of the things I used to think that weren’t good for me were, in terms of my story. When I was arrested, I thought it was the worst thing that would have ever happened to me. It actually turned out to be one of the best things because it led me towards this journey right here. Yeah, just give me a second. I’m going to check one more thing. 

Oh, yeah. So, this is an excellent, I mean, they’re all excellent questions, since solitude is now the new normal. Can gratitude be just as effective when practice alone? Yes. Because a lot of it really is an inside job. It is an internal journey. Okay, let’s see. Whoops, I just made that big screen. 

I also want to talk to you too about the gratitude questions. So, Waters, it’s a video on YouTube and she talks about a gratitude question. She says, you can share it at the dinner table with your family. Hey, I’m saying you can call your friends or email train or text, whatever. Like what went well that day? Talk about what went well and then in terms of gratitude board post what you’re grateful for. Again, that could be an email train, like what are you grateful for? Or a Facebook post? Or WhatsApp? 

Okay, so, let’s see, hold on. The question here is intellectually and logically, I understand the power of gratitude and how to practice those moments of feeling overwhelmed and anxious when those dark moments take over. So, yeah, so the idea here, so with a lot of things, the idea is to practice it now. Because when things get worse, you’ll have a habit of practicing now. Now, let’s say things are worse now, in a way by you showing up here. You’re already practicing self-care and self-compassion because you’re here. So, I encourage you to congratulate yourself now. Start being grateful now that you’re here now participating in this support group.

43:03 Gratitude Journalling

And then, another way is gratitude journalling. So, these are the first six questions of 35 questions you can Google them. If you want help with journalling, specific to gratitude, there’s tons of stuff on the internet. You know, who do I appreciate? How am I fortunate? And I’ll tell you, number three, has changed greatly since I’ve been, I mean, since the global pandemic, like what material possessions am I thankful for? I never in a million years would have thought that I would be grateful for having toilet paper. But now I could tell you, I’m grateful for having toilet paper and I’m grateful I have my family. I’m grateful I have Zoom, and I’m grateful I have a job. Just a reminder and I’m grateful that I’m here with you guys right in this moment. I’m grateful that I’m not alone in my stress and I’m grateful that I’m not alone too in my quest for gratitude. So, I’m grateful for my colleagues that work in terms of meetings in terms of social distancing. This is what meetings look like for me now and this is kind of like the new normal. 

44:55 Review: Why is Gratitude Worth Practicing?

So, in terms of a review, why is gratitude worth practicing? So, in essence, stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, higher levels of positive emotions, more joy, optimism, happiness, acting with more generosity and compassion, feeling less lonely and isolated. 

So, at the beginning, I asked people to write down a word and I’m going to ask to check out with one word. So, right now in this moment, check in-out again with one word. So again, through chat, if you can just write one word where you’re at right in this moment. Hopeful, hopeful, humble, grateful, optimistic. Still feeling lost. Calm. I would imagine and totally correct me if I’m wrong—still feeling lost maybe a little less? Or maybe I’m the one who’s being hopeful. Optimistic. Connected. Thank you and you’re welcome and thank you. So yeah, in terms of being a little less lost. 

So, I want to state that what I noticed in the past when I presented this, that when we started we had words like lost, anxious, neutral, worried, overwhelmed, and then now, here’s another less lonely. Now we have words, hopeful, optimistic, I’m still feeling lost but a little less so, right and a little less lonely. Connected. So, here’s the idea. Again, what I said is I’m not saying that we ignore the pain and we ignore the suffering. What I’m saying kind of like is we put it into perspective, we put it into balance, that I can be sad and grateful at the same time. 

Then also, just a comment here honestly, are we really alone. We’re always connected. Isn’t that the key to healing addiction, to truly believe that we’re deeply connected, and there’s no such thing as separation. So, I want to say in terms of addiction and in terms of this concept of feeling connected and a sense of belonging, and a sense of contribution. Throughout my addiction and codependency, it isolated me, totally isolated me. In terms of my codependency, this was in recovery as well. Throughout my recovery, it’s about gaining that connection. I won’t tell you how old I am, but I’ll tell you, I’ll go with the slogan that I say. So, it takes me 10 years to walk in a forest. It’s not going to take me 10 days to get out and so that helps me when I start feeling frustrated. Oh, I should be grateful. I should be happy all the time. I should already have this down pat. You know, I have 22 years of sobriety. I shouldn’t feel anxious. I shouldn’t feel hurt. Well, I’m using that word “should” because I actually, there I go “shoulding” all over myself, right. So, again, when I use that, like that kind of don’t “should” all over myself, like I snap myself out of it, I kind of laugh. I laugh with myself and I embrace that pain and know I’m not alone. I’m not alone and it takes time and grant myself patience. So, are there any questions with regard to gratitude, practicing gratitude?

50:00 References

Here are the references. I wanted to say thank you. Oh, let’s see if there’s any more here. I just wanted to say thank you very much in terms of allowing me to be a part of your journey and allowing me to speak on gratitude because as I said before, it sounds kind of weird to be grateful during this time. Yet at the same time I can be grateful and sad and concerned and happy and feel loved and be present. So, I just want to thank you guys, and I’m gonna stop my share and I don’t know if Hillary’s back or Mo?

Hillary: I’m coming back. Don’t worry. 

Janina: Grateful to see you. 

Hillary: I’m grateful for your presentation. There was something that really struck me during it and of course, I’ve forgotten what it is I wanted to say, of course, because that always happens. But it always comes back to you at the wrong time, or the perfect time. Whatever it is. Yeah, I’ve lost it for now. That’s okay. What I think was really brilliant is the courage to share from your own personal experience. That’s really beautiful and that’s the kind of stuff like your presentation was so well researched. There’s so much science in there, which is great. But mixing in some of the really authentic stuff. It’s so good and I hope people found that valuable. That’s a big part of recovery and treatment is being vulnerable, being out there and so I am grateful that you were vulnerable today. That was great.

Janina: Yeah. I just want to again say like gratitude, sometimes when that comes up as a topic, I’m like, ugh, but then I’m grateful for it. Like, I am grateful and that’s one thing I want to say again, that like, it takes us 10 years to walk in a forest, it’s not going to take us 10 days to get out. So, like, again, practice, you know, it’s again about practicing and it’s again about self-compassion. It takes patience and tolerance, things that I really didn’t have. I said patience is a virtue I can’t wait for. So like, it does take time and it does, in my experience, personal and professional, I have seen it get better, it gets worse and then it gets better and then it gets better and it stays better and then it gets worse. So, again, in terms of gratitude, like, what’s that? Put some gratitude in your attitude. Yeah, sometimes I do things like this, and I still do them and I’m the better person for it. So, you know, I’m like smiling, I’m remembering that pen.

Hillary: Well, that’s the thing that I’d forgotten and that I wanted to say. I remember being stuck in traffic and it was raining, and I was trying to get somewhere and I was going to be late. I was so upset, and I thought I made a decision in that moment and I said, I’m going to plaster a smile on my face and see what happens. By the time I got to my destination, my face muscles were sore, but I wasn’t stressed anymore. I got there and I was like, I actually I feel pretty good even though I should have been furious. That’s a prime example of faking it till you make it. For people who want resources, we’re doing these videos or live webinars or support groups as often as we can so just keep a lookout. 

If this is important, if you found this valuable, please share it with someone. I hope they find it valuable too. We’ll try to get a replay as soon as we can, but it does take time. We make sure to edit it, make sure that it is confidential, and that people’s identities aren’t shared and everything like that. So, it does take us a second to get to redistribute, so please be patient with us. 

But if you need anything give us a call. Our website is edgewoodhealthnetwork.com if you’ve been to Edgewood and maybe your family members have encountered Janina in your travels and if not, we’re here for you, I guess is all I can say. We’ll try to continue as much as possible to have these for you. If you find them valuable, please keep coming back and anything else you need to say Janina before we sign off?

Janina: No, you’re more than welcome to contact Edgewood. Janina is my name. Yep, I’m here in the basement. But yeah, just a phone call away.

Hillary: It’s earlier in the day out there in Nanaimo. So, you have lots more sunlight left. Here in Toronto, it’s 5:01 p.m. So, I’m going to go out for my walk and practice a little bit of gratitude. I hope everyone has a wonderful day. I hope you learned something. Please keep giving us feedback. Our admissions counsellors reach out if you do give us feedback on this, they want to hear it. We want to hear it. Thank you so much, and everybody have a wonderful day. Okay, take care. Bye

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