We find ourselves again approaching the holiday season, with its many joys and challenges. The beauty and nostalgia are undeniable, but it can also bring financial burden, interpersonal conflict, and feelings of loneliness. This time of year can make us feel like we’re falling short of an ideal where our families are perfect, our health is glowing, and our social calendar is bursting with invitations. It’s a lot of pressure! I wanted to take things in a different direction here and give you something to work with that will not only ease some stress but help you to feel good. In my classes, I’m preparing to delve into the juiciness that is GRATITUDE. It’s not just for Thanksgiving or inspirational memes on Instagram! Making the practice of gratitude part of your life can create lasting changes that not only rewire your brain but open your heart to more love, connection, and personal wellness. In this blog, I’ll share three ways gratitude can change your life.
1) Improved health and wellness
Gratitude is a growing area of study in medical research. Many of these studies show that the practice of gratitude stimulates two important regions of our brains – the hypothalamus, which regulates stress, and the ventral tegmental area, which is heavily involved in the brain’s “reward” system that produces pleasurable feelings. So gratitude is not just an attitude, but behavior that results in chemical changes in your brain, which then colors your outlook about yourself and the world around you. Much of this research shows that people who practice gratitude experience fewer aches and pains and report that they generally feel good. They are also more likely to attend regular checkups and make changes to their diet and fitness habits that support their overall wellness. Studies focusing on survivors of war and other trauma demonstrate measurable improvement when the individuals actively cultivate gratitude, increasing their resilience and recovery post-trauma.
2) New friendships
Showing appreciation daily not only supports emotional and physical wellness but can attract new friendships and other connections. Saying “thank you” when someone holds the door open for you, showing recognition to a co-worker who helps you complete a task, or being kind to waitstaff at a restaurant is noticed by others, who are more likely to want to get to know you better. How many of us prefer the company of a warm and kind person to one who is complaining and inconsiderate? Gratitude also increases our empathy “muscles,” helping us to be more aware of and sensitive to the perspectives of others when conflict arises, and apt to seek peaceful resolution instead of retaliation. All this makes you the kind of person that others want to be around!
3) Finding the good stuff that’s already there
It may seem strange, but sometimes happiness scares us. That new relationship that’s so blissful, that fabulous raise or lofty promotion at work, the continued health and success of our growing family – underneath our feelings of joy and thankfulness can often lurk a sharp pang of fear. We wonder how long the good times will last, or “when the other shoe will drop.” We can develop a habit of mentally preparing ourselves for disaster that, over time, dulls our capacity for joy and keeps us anxious, stressed, and emotionally walled up. According to research professor Brené Brown, “When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding.” Gratitude can combat this tendency by actively engaging you in joy and appreciation
Your Monthly Cosmic Forecast ✨🦃✨
This month’s Taurus Full Moon is perfect for getting us in the mood for gratitude. The cornucopia or horn of plenty is a Taurus theme and no other sign is better at creating abundance. Among the November changes, Mercury and Neptune are turning direct, bringing cosmic blessings for everyone if we put them to good use. The heavy grip of Scorpio will give way to some bounding buoyancy when Sagittarius hits the scene. There are serious concerns we’re facing as a society, but it’s good for all of us to lighten up a bit – especially after so much shadow work.
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November 1 – Venus Enters Sagittarius: If love’s not an adventure, why bother? Venus in Sagittarius needs something to pursue and get excited about, especially in long-term relationships. Over the next few weeks, switch it up. If there’s a special person in your life, try a new restaurant or book a weekend getaway. If you’re single, get out there and meet people.
November 12 – Full Moon in Taurus: This month’s Full Moon will be in Taurus, and Taurus tends to hit us in the wallet. Money is energy, but we often think so narrowly about it and focus on what we don’t have. If you want to bring in more bucks, start by celebrating what you’re making now. Show even those pennies respect. Empty is never filled from a place of empty and this is the FULL Moon!
November 18 – Mars enters Scorpio: Many of us are going through major personal shifts. Even if our jobs and relationships aren’t changing, something inside of us is. While Mars transits Scorpio, we can all go a little deeper and be braver when it comes to following our true calling. You know if you’ve been compromising or holding back. Mars in Scorpio reminds you to never settle for less.
November 20 – Mercury Direct: Mercury Retrograde is a good time to stop and pay attention to your inner voice. Are you going in the right direction? Now that Mercury’s turning direct, check yourself before hitting the accelerator. Choose your words carefully, spoken and unspoken. Think of The Magician in the Tarot, Mercury’s card. Just like him, you have the power to create reality with your mind. When you reinvent your thoughts, you reinvent your life!
November 22 – Sun enters Sagittarius: Run, jump, fly! With the Sun in Sagittarius, we all receive a boost in confidence, optimism, and good-old-fashioned luck. Ruled by Jupiter, king of the gods, Sag is big, loud, and proud. Most of us know we’re capable of more than we’re doing now. Don’t let fear, insecurity, or laziness win. Push yourself to grow, rise above, and go for the best.
November 25 – Venus enters Capricorn: Venus in Capricorn needs a partner she can count on. She’s a professional lover who demands a professional in return. During this transit, any relationships lacking in accountability or respect will be put to the test. Immaturity and irresponsibility aren’t cute from this view. If someone can’t commit to what you need, seriously consider your options.
November 26 – New Moon in Sagittarius: This is a Sagittarius New Moon, so we gotta GO somewhere! This doesn’t have to be jumping on a plane. There are many ways to journey – physically, mentally, and spiritually. The point is to go somewhere new. Adventuring leads you to challenge your ideas and beliefs. When you start from a place you’ve never been, anything is possible.
November 27 – Neptune Direct: After five months retrograde, Neptune turns direct in Pisces. If you’ve been keeping your dreams in hibernation, it’s time to come out of that cave. All those possibilities floating around in your head can keep you from going in any direction – all you Pisces know just what I mean. Wake up and work your magic, whatever it is! Do that thing you love like there are no limits.
My Favorites for November
Chakra: Heart. The Heart Chakra, Anahata in Sanskrit, sits right over your physical heart and is the center of your body’s energy. It regulates all of your energy flow. Love for yourself and others arises from this chakra, along with compassion and affection. Love’s vibration is magical – it can heal the body, the planet, and the whole universe. Heartfelt gratitude is linked with this energy center, and the reciprocity of giving and receiving keeps it balanced.
Tarot: The Empress. The Empress is lush, fertile, and full-figured – the perfect embodiment of Earth’s greatest gifts. She personifies Demeter, the Earth Mother, and Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. In her highest expression, The Empress is abundance – from the flowers in her hair to the baby growing in her womb. She is sensual, nurturing, and just as comfortable receiving as giving. When The Empress shows up, it’s a message to embrace life and make something with it. Birth and growth are her gifts and they manifest physically, emotionally, and in all forms of creativity.
Spirit Animal: Turkey. It’s Thanksgiving month, so of course, we’re celebrating the traditional main course of the feast. Turkey is almost synonymous with harvest in the United States, and it’s a totem of shared blessings. This beautifully feathered friend is also a symbol of spirituality. The growth on a turkey’s forehead is associated with the Third Eye, the energy center of intuition, enhanced vision, and psychic ability. Turkey teaches us to honor the Earth and its resources, connect with
Gems: Ajoite, chrysocolla, kunzite, lepidolite with pink tourmaline, aurora quartz, citrine, green apatite
Oils: Sweet orange, bergamot, ginger, clove, ho wood, grapefruit, frankincense, betel leaf
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