I am so grateful for this past weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving to reflect on so many things that I am grateful for.
My family joined me and we were able to attend a funeral for my amazing uncle and then celebrate Thanksgiving with my fantastic family. My sister is so brave and hosted us for 4 nights. We played a lot of cards, ate a lot of food and enjoyed the beautiful landscape along with the large Alberta sky that always fills my soul.
I also launched my first week of my Learn to Quilt Charity Quilt Along. This has been a long time in the making. Despite all of the computer glitches and challenges, I was able to release the instructional videos on Youtube and blogspot on all of the shopping materials required for quilting.
This quilt along will end right before American Thanksgiving. I was doing some reading on the benefits of being grateful and want to share some of what I learned. I also wanted to share the free 9 Patch Wonder pattern that may friend Julia from Briar Hill Designs helped me make beautiful for you. I will be using this pattern throughout the classes.
Learning new skills is always uncomfortable because we are totally out of our comfort zone- let me help motivate you with just 6 reasons to increase your gratitude:
1. Gratitude is Good for Our Brains
For those of us who did not pay attention in biology class; the hypothalamus is the part of our brain that regulates a number of our bodily functions including our appetites, sleep, temperature, metabolism and growth. A 2009 National Institutes of Health (NIH) study showed that our hypothalamus is activated when we feel gratitude, or display acts of kindness.
2. Better Sleep
Numerous scientific studies and research on gratitude have all yielded the same result: Gratitude increases the quality of our sleep, decreases the time it takes to fall asleep and lengthens the duration of our sleep.
3. Stress Relief
Better sleep, naturally, means that we are more relaxed. While this applies to the weight we carry around from work, financial strain and other emotional disturbances, gratitude is physically good for our hearts and nervous system too.
In a 2007 study that speaks to the benefits of gratitude, patients with hypertension were made to count their blessings once a week. Results showed a significant decrease in their systolic blood pressure. This gratitude research also discovered that writing in a gratitude journal (often) can reduce blood pressure by 10%.
4. Reduced Anxiety and Depression
Numerous studies on the benefits of gratitude practices have shown that keeping a gratitude journal, or writing and sending thank you notes can increase our long-term happiness by more than 10%. A 2005 study also showed that keeping a gratitude journal decreased depression by more than 30% for the duration of the study.
5. Increased Energy and Vitality
With all of the benefits of gratitude that have been mentioned here, does it come as a surprise that gratitude makes us stronger? There are many hypotheses supporting why exactly gratitude makes us healthier—from stronger immune systems thanks to sleep, to healthier hearts due to less stress, and even to the more spiritual theories—such as being thankful makes us more optimistic and that in itself boosts our vitality.
FREE 9 PATCH WONDER PATTERN
When you create this quilt I would love you to tag me @stitchedquiltingco when you post it and then use the hashtag #charityqal so that we can all inspire each other!!