Embracing Gratitude: How to Cultivate a Thankful Heart and Stronger Relationships

As Thanksgiving draws near, our thoughts naturally turn to gratitude – a sentiment that warms the air and fills our days with appreciation. Beyond a seasonal tradition, gratitude becomes a guiding light, offering profound benefits for our well-being. Let’s dive into what being grateful means for us and explore how embracing this transformative emotion can enrich our lives, bolster our health, and strengthen our relationships.

The Science of Gratitude

There are lots of ways to talk about gratitude, but our favorite comes from Dr. Robert Emmons, a renowned researcher in the science of gratitude. He says…

“Gratitude is literally one of the few things that can measurably change people’s lives.”

Being grateful is not merely an emotion but a dynamic force for positive change. It brings joy, love, and optimism while protecting against destructive impulses, such as envy and resentment. Its impact on our mental and emotional health is profound, making it an invaluable tool in our journey toward overall well-being.

Dr. Emmons breaks it down into two key parts:

Recognize the Good: Make an effort to notice the good stuff in our lives. It’s like actively searching for moments of beauty, kindness, and strength when life throws us challenges. This recognition becomes the backbone for building a positive mindset and a strong spirit.

Acknowledge External Sources: Gratitude is a team sport, recognizing that the good things often come from outside ourselves. It’s the support from friends, unexpected moments of joy, and the connections we share that make our appreciation grow.


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How can we make gratitude a part of our everyday lives?

Mindful Moments: Incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. Whether through meditation or a mindful walk, these practices can help you appreciate the present moment and foster a sense of gratitude.

Journaling and Getting Specific: Keep a journal to document moments of positivity. Dive into the details of what (and who) you’re grateful for; the more specific, the better. Specificity intensifies feelings of gratitude, creating a lasting impact.

Express How You Feel: Gratitude is a gift meant to be shared. Let those who positively impact your life know through words, gestures, or acts of kindness. This helps strengthen relationships and fosters a sense of community.


It’s more than a feeling

As we stand on the cusp of gratefulness, let’s embrace this positive emotion. Not just as a seasonal sentiment but as a constant companion in our lives. By recognizing the good, acknowledging external sources, and practicing gratitude in meaningful ways, we cultivate a positive foundation for well-being. This season and beyond, let gratitude be your guiding light, reminding us of the richness that comes from a thankful heart.

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Mental Health for Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer: How to Support Them

Cancer is a devastating disease that affects not only the individual diagnosed but also their loved ones and support community. Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer face unique challenges, including the physical and emotional toll of treatment, the possibility of long-term health complications, and the impact on their education and career aspirations. One aspect often overlooked is the importance of mental health for these individuals.


Mental health is crucial for overall well-being and can significantly impact the quality of life for adolescents and young adults with cancer. They may experience a range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. The physical symptoms of cancer and the side effects of treatment can exacerbate these emotions. It is important to recognize that mental health struggles are common and normal for individuals in this situation and to provide them with support and resources.

How to provide support

One way to support the mental health of adolescents and young adults with cancer is to provide them with access to professional counseling and therapy. This can be critical for those who are struggling to cope with their diagnosis and treatment. It can also be helpful for family members and friends to seek support for themselves, as caring for a loved one with cancer can be emotionally taxing.

Another way to support the mental health of adolescents and young adults with cancer is to provide them with opportunities for socialization and connection. Being around friends and loved ones can provide a sense of normalcy and remind them that they are not alone in their struggles. It can also be helpful to connect them with support groups of individuals who have gone through similar experiences.

Allow them a sense of control

It is also essential for adolescents and young adults with cancer to have a sense of control and autonomy over their treatment and care, which may include allowing them to be involved in decision-making regarding their treatment and providing them with information and resources to make informed decisions.

Take care of yourself too

Remember: You can’t be a good supporter if you’re running on empty. Balance your own needs with the needs of your friend. Whether that’s ensuring you schedule in your own self-care, start therapy, etc., think about what you need in order to feel like you can support your friend without sacrificing your own well-being


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In summary, mental health is crucial for overall well-being, especially for adolescents and young adults with cancer. Recognize that mental health struggles are common and normal for individuals in this situation and provide them with access to professional counseling, opportunities for socialization and connection, and a sense of control over their treatment and care. By providing support and resources, we can help these individuals navigate their cancer journey with as much resilience and grace as possible.

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