Autumn is a time to celebrate the change in the weather as the heat and light of summer recede, leaving us with cooler days and nights. Our physical beings register these changes and cause us to become more reflective as we head toward the Thanksgiving holidays and beyond. Autumn also affords us the opportunity to think about what our goals and intentions are for the remaining few weeks of the year. Traditionally, when most of the world was agrarian (reliant on the land for survival), it was a time to consider literally what was being harvested from what was sown in the spring and summer. Almost all cultures around the world structured important ceremonies for their tribes and communities around the meaning of the harvest, of the need to express gratitude for the blessings of its sustenance as well as a reward for the hard work of the prior growing season.
Gratitude is a key factor in living authentically, and has also been the focus of many recent health and wellbeing studies. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley in collaboration with UC/Davis have found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
- Higher levels of positive emotions
- More joy, optimism and happiness
- Acting with more generosity and compassion
- Feeling less lonely and isolated
Here are some simple ways you can work the practice of gratitude into your Autumn wellbeing efforts.
- Begin each day with a quick meditation or prayer by giving thanks for the good fortune to have the new day in front of you.
- Keep a gratitude journal, and write down all the things in your life you are grateful for, big and small.
- Take turns around the dinner table giving each family member an opportunity to express something for which they are grateful from the day just concluded.
Try one or more of these simple tips daily, and you will find that your life will unfold in new and amazing ways.