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Nashville, Ark. – You have probably heard the phrase, “count your blessings.” We see
it posted on wall décor, plaques, doormats, etc. It is easy to dismiss the idea as
simplistic when it comes to mental well-being, but you may be surprised by the strength
of counting your blessings and intentionally practicing gratitude.
The definition of gratitude is “the quality or state of being thankful; readiness
to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Gratitude comes very easily to some
people and is less obvious to others. You may be a person who has feelings of gratitude
often, or do you focus more on the negatives or potential problems in a situation?
As a society, we need both types of personalities. The positive people keep us moving
along, looking at the good things that could happen and finding good even when things
go wrong. The more pessimistic people help us prepare for what might happen and what
might go wrong. They are often great protectors who we want around when there’s a
crisis. No matter who you identify with, everyone can benefit from regular, intentional
One way we can practice gratitude is as simple as saying “thank you” and truly meaning
it. It is easy to just say, “thank you” or “love you” but does that come with true
feeling? Intentional gratitude practice is to start paying closer attention to those
times we say, “thank you.” Don’t make it just a habit. When you notice the desire
to say, “thank you,” pause and think about what you are actually thankful FOR. Make
a mental note or even better express the specific thanks to the person. This process
can help us achieve two key components of practicing gratitude:
Don’t forget the importance of thank you notes. Again, they should be heartfelt. Simple,
heartfelt thank you notes go a long way in letting a person know how appreciative
you are for something they did for you. This includes job interviews, gifts (wedding,
graduation, baby, birthday) along with simple remembrances. Maybe someone prepared
a meal, dessert, gave or did something special for you. Thank you notes are not old
fashioned and people do remember them.
Some ways you can practice gratitude include:
Frequent, intentional gratitude practice helps to train your brain to focus on positives
and notice those things that bring you joy rather than all the annoying little things
of daily life. It can help reduce stress and pain. The parts of the brain associated
with gratitude are in the areas where we experience pleasure. They’re connected to
the parts of the brain that regulate our emotions as well as heart rate. Researchers
at Indiana University found that gratitude practice can help individuals with depression.
Consistent gratitude can actually change brain structures and pathways leading to
Over time, people who practice gratitude report fewer physical symptoms of illness,
more optimism, greater goal attainment, decreased anxiety and depression, and other
health benefits. Wouldn’t the world be better if we all practiced a little gratitude?
Information for this article was adapted from the University of Arkansas System Division
of Agriculture’s Family Life Specialist – Dr. Brittney Schrick.
For more information on well-being, check out our webpage Personal and Family Well-Being
This recipe will be a featured at the upcoming program, “Cooking with an Instant Pot” scheduled for Tuesday, January 24 at 10:00 a.m. at the Howard County EHC Education
Center in Nashville. This hands-on training will introduce you to the advantages of
using this appliance, plus look different brands and features including those that
are pressure cookers/air fryers. Participants will receive tasty recipes including
main dishes, sides and even desserts. If you are interested in participating in this
program, you must pre-register by January 18. A registration fee of $10.00 will be
charge for non-EHC members.
5 potatoes, sliced thin
1 green onion, chopped
1 cup chopped ham
2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
1 T. butter
1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
By Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.