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Movin’ Together – Journal of Thanks
In America, since the 1600’s, we have been observing a celebration of thanks known as “Thanksgiving.” It was originally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year in 1621. Abraham Lincoln published a presidential proclamation in 1863 which states in part, ‘I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.’ (You can find the entire address below.) Now, hundreds of years later we are still gathering the last Thursday of November with family and friends to remember and reflect on the history of that first Thanksgiving.
Why not celebrate an attitude of gratitude all year long? The dictionary meaning of thanks is an expression of gratitude. During this feature we are introducing our journal of thanks in our Movin’ Together healthy tool basket. You may be thinking, how would a journal of thanks be a healthy tool? To help us understand this I invited Dr. Nicolle Mayo, Professor of Psychology at Mansfield University, to explain scientifically how the brain behaves when certain chemicals are released in connection to being thankful.
Dr. Mayo stated, “What happens when we are grateful, or appreciative, or engaged in writing about being grateful, and being more positive – is that it elicits different chemicals in our brain. One of the major chemicals…that is released when we express gratitude is oxytocin. This chemical increases our well being, reduces depression, anxiety and stress.”
She also explained that it helps improve sleep, and in many studies, has been found increases life expectancy, the functioning of your immune system, self-esteem and energy levels.
Dr. Mayo also stressed that the opposite is true, “that when we think about stress and depression they actually kill the chemicals and cells that energize and boost us.”
When asked how often we should write in our journal of thanks, Dr. Mayo said that there were mixed studies concerning that data. Some studies say everyday is great, some studies say once a week or less. She sums up her recommendation about journaling with: “This should be something that you do not feel that you have to do but you want to do, to think about what’s gone well today, what can I feel appreciative or grateful about or who am I blessed to have in my life. I am going to see what great things have been going on in my life so far and reflect on those in a more meaningful way.”
Note from the editor:
Julianna recently attended a Thanksgiving party, and the craft chosen for them to make was a Thanksgiving journal. Now we can encourage each other to write and reflect on all of the good things happening in our lives.
As Dr. Mayo spoke of all of the benefits of the scientific research, (that proves that being grateful is life-giving), I thought of a scripture that I have read often that now has a greater meaning for me in my daily life.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Also, while I was researching this feature I found a gratitude quiz and took it! If you would like to take the quiz click on the link here.
Next time on Movin’ Together we will be adding the tool of giving!
Lincoln’s Presidential Proclamation
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
Idea/Concept: Sara Vogt
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Sara Vogt
Anchor: Sara Vogt
Produced by Vogt Media
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