November already! The year is flying by. Before Halloween was even cold in the ground, the stores were already pulling out the Red Nosed Reindeer. Of course, we will take a pitstop for Thanksgiving, the busiest travel holiday of the year. Time to show gratitude first!

I know immediately what I want to talk about this month: gratitude, but it’s a difficult topic. Given that Thanksgiving might spark imaginations of a stressful family dinner and all the complexities that go with it, our critical inner voice might not be receptive to a message about being grateful.

Exercise and diet are just part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s hard to imagine feeling healthy if one is not happy and our mental health will reflect this. Research in the field of positive psychology show that expressing gratitude is good for mental health:

  • It increases happiness
  • It decreases depression
  • It enhances empathy
  • Reduces aggression
  • Improves relationships
  • Increases self-esteem
  • Improves quality of sleep

Expressing gratitude does not cost money and can be accomplished in a short amount of time with these tremendous benefits.  Instead of succumbing to stress and focusing on the negatives, try to change your metal attitude to one of gratitude.  It is an easy way to expand satisfaction in life.

Part of embracing a “warrior lifestyle” is practicing the 7 virtues, the 5 keys to health and the 3 states of mind of Bushido. The fifth key to health is a “positive attitude”. And two of the three desired states of mind are “Mushin” (clear mind) and “Fudoshin” (emotional balance) which I am convinced is related to one’s mental health.

Last month I gave you tips to be safe, this month I’m wishing you well and telling you I am grateful to have you as an audience and students. Perhaps you can pay it forward and tell someone you are grateful; for them, something they did, or just tell someone out loud what you are grateful for. While it is a family tradition around our Thanksgiving table for each person to share what they are grateful for, it can make an interesting bedtime ritual with your kids at night when you tuck them in, any time of the year.  Each night, ask them, “What are three things you are grateful for” and see what they tell you. You might learn a lot. Gratitude is powerful!