An Attitude of Gratitude and My Colombia Vacation

Did you know that gratitude is good for your health? According to researchers, people who regularly practice gratitude have better heart health, sleep better, are more likely to exercise and eat healthfully, and are more resilient in terms of emotional wellbeing. That’s awesome, right?! What’s even better is that a gratitude practice can be very simple and relatively easy to incorporate into your daily life. Here are a few ideas for adding gratitude in your day:

  1. Take 2-3 minutes at the beginning or end of each day to write down three positive things that occurred that day for which you are grateful. You don’t even need to write in complete sentences but see if you can write about these things in a bit of detail. Doing this helps install these positive experiences as internal resources in your brain.
  2. Practice giving thanks at every meal.
  3. Offer gratitude prayers. Every morning, when I’m out riding my bike, I have a ritual of saying a gratitude prayer, expressing gratitude for my neighborhood and neighbors, nature, my bike, my body, and the many other blessings in my life. I call this practice my bicycle prayers.

Just a little yoga in the Andes mountains

This month, I had the opportunity to go on an adventurous vacation with seven members of my family. We trekked to Colombia in South America and got to explore several different parts of the country. Colombia is a stunningly beautiful country and we were fortunate to see amazing wildlife and scenery. And the people we met were kind, welcoming, and vibrant. It was an incredible trip and we all felt so fortunate to be able to experience it together as a family. I’m including some photos so you get a sneak peak of some of the beautiful birds and landscapes we saw. I’ve also uploaded a sweet little video of a long-tailed sylph, which is a fairy-like hummingbird, taking a bath during a rain shower. It was so peaceful and impossibly adorable. Grateful!

Throughout my vacation, I maintained the intention of being grateful for the opportunity to go on this once-in-a-lifetime trip. This intentional gratitude practice helped me really take in all of the wonderful experiences but also helped cushion the few less-than-wonderful experiences (hello food poisoning, mosquitoes, and travel delays).

Blue-winged mountain tanager

My gratitude practice offered another benefit during and after my vacation to Colombia. The change in scenery and culture created a natural shift in perspective, which allowed me to renew my gratitude for the many blessings in my day-to-day life in Dallas, Texas. We don’t have to travel to another continent, though, to get this perspective shift. We can practice seeing our lives from the outside in, as another person might see it, in order to see the good stuff more clearly. A little change of scenery can help with this, too.

May you have much to be grateful for!

With gratitude and well wishes,

Dr. Jen