Practice Gratitude – Improve Health

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gratitude- The state of being grateful. Thankfulness Thanksgiving. Embracing and being grateful for what we have (the gift) and for the source (the giver) of it. The gift can come from another, a higher power or nature. 

The world is in upheaval. There are challenges facing all of us as we bid 2022 goodbye and welcome 2023 with a little trepidation. We are entering uncharted territory in world history. The good news is that we are not alone. How we enter this new year depends a lot on our attitude and ability to remain flexible to our changing landscape. In other words, our attitude can make or break us. Let’s take the higher road and focus on solutions.

Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, is one of the world’s leading experts on the science of gratitude, conducted a series of tests to determine if acknowledging and expressing gratitude had any lasting health effects. After conducting several studies ranging from weekly to daily gratitude journaling, he concluded that daily expressions of gratitude had lasting positive outcomes physically, emotionally, and mentally. In other words, daily expressions of gratitude set the stage for continued habits of positive emotions and resilience. 

Practicing gratitude, either in written or spoken form activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is known as the calming part of the nervous system. This in turn lowers cortisol levels and promotes feelings of wellbeing. 

Health benefits of practicing gratitude

  • Reduces stress- Stress hormones such as cortisol 23% lower
  • Lowers inflammation with reduced stress comes reduced inflammation
  • Improved heart health- lower blood pressure
  • Alleviates anxiety
  • Promotes social wellness
  • More likely to choose healthy habits such as diet and exercise
  • Better sleep quality
  • Higher sense of self worth
  • Improved immune function

Is gratefulness a personality trait or can it be learned?

While there are certain personalities that are naturally geared to be more grateful, gratitude can be developed into lifelong habits. Dr. Emmons believes you can cultivate gratitude. In this excellent video, he explains how to become more grateful.  (He has a whole series on gratitude on You Tube worth watching)  

How to practice gratitude

Practicing gratitude not only elevates another person but also elevates you. Dr Emmons work revealed daily and consistent focus on gratitude and being thankful had lasting benefits

The following are a few tips to get started:

    • Journal- Keep a daily journal of 5 things you are grateful for, commit to doing this daily for one month
  • Write letters to loved ones and those you appreciate. Let them know how you feel. It always feels good to get something in the mail that isn’t an advertisement or bill! This could be in combination with other forms of gratitude.
  • Tell 5 people something about them you are grateful for 
  • Text 5 people something positive. Let them know you are thinking about them
  • Start a couple’s journal. Leave it out on coffee table. Write something positive in it daily to each other. 
  • Take time out each day to meditate or pray. Focus on what is good in your life, and work towards solutions to challenges in your life.

Gratitude Quotes- to inspire you!

  1. “This is a wonderful day. I have never seen this one before.” Maya Angelou
  2. “When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.” Kristin Armstrong
  3. “When eating fruit, remember the one who planted the tree.” Vietnamese proverb
  4. “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” Willie Nelson
  5. “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Roert Brault
  6. “‘Enough’ is a feast.” Buddhist Proverb
  7. “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” Epictetus
  8. “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” A.A. Milne
  9. “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” John F. Kennedy
  10. “Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation.” John Ortberg
  11. “O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” William Shakespeare
  12. “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” Thornton Wilder



- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

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Avian Influenza Adds to Skyrocketing Thanksgiving Meal

Turkey jumps 73% in price over last year

Thanksgiving is a time for families and loved ones to get together and share a meal and give thanks- a longstanding tradition in many households across the U.S. The centerpiece for many of these meals is the turkey. Recent outbreaks of avian influenza has put a dent in available turkeys, sending the price to skyrocket. Over the past year over 6 million turkeys had to be culled due to highly pathogenic avian influenza(HPAI). This resulted in 2.5 percent reduction in turkeys going to market, however the USDA projects the numbers should rebound to pre cull (kill) numbers within a short time.  The CDC has an interactive map reveals where outbreaks are occurring in real time in both commercial and home flocks for each state and county.

Wholesale prices for frozen whole turkey hens: 

  • 2019 average: $0.89 per pound
  • 2020 average: $1.07 per pound
  • 2021 average: $1.23 per pound
  • 2022 average: $1.69 per pound (73% increase over 2021)

Avian flu not the only reason Thanksgiving will be more expensive. Exploding feed prices and energy prices are also contributing to a much more expensive thanksgiving meal. Aceoss the board food prices have risen  Farm Bureau projects that  Thanksgiving dinner will be 14% higher than 2021.

Domestic pets at risk

Bird flu is spread primarily through migratory waterfowl as they travel to their destinations. Bird droppings and sick or dead birds infected with the bird flu can infect pets if consumed or have prolonged contact with an infected bird. It is highly unlikely (but not impossible) for humans to come down with bird flu if you follow these precautions:

Watch for signs of illness in your pet

If your pet shows signs of illness that are indicative of bird flu:

  • Sudden death with no prior signs
  • Low energy or appetite
  • Purple discoloration or swelling of various body parts
  • Reduced egg production, or soft-shelled/misshapen eggs
  • Nasal discharge, coughing, or sneezing
  • Lack of coordination
  • Diarrhea

Don’t touch sick or dead birds, their feces or litter, or any surface or water source (ponds, waterers, buckets, pans, troughs) that might be contaminated with their saliva, feces, or any other bodily fluids without wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

What to do if you find a dead or sick bird

If you find a dead bird, don’t touch it with your bare hands. Use a plastic bag or gloved hands and place it in garbage can and dispose of it in your garbage. To report unusual signs in birds you have seen in the wild, call 1-866-536-7593.

Can you get avian flu from eating infected turkey?

Bird flu virus can be passed through bird droppings and saliva on surfaces such as cages, tractors, and other farm equipment. Most people don’t need to worry about getting sick with bird flu virus. You cannot get bird flu from eating fully cooked chicken, turkey, or duck, because heat kills the virus.

Avian flu food safety

Proper food handling will prevent not only avian flu but foodborne illnesses such as E coli and Salmonella (The Jase case contains antibiotics that can handle Salmonella if the need arises) from contaminating you and your cooked food.

USDA Questions and Answers: Food Safety and Avian Influenza

(Excerpts from USDA pdf on avian flu and food safety)

  1. Can I get avian influenza from eating poultry or eggs?
  2. No. Poultry and eggs that are properly prepared and cooked are safe to eat. Proper food

safety practices are important every day. In addition to proper processing, proper handling and

cooking of poultry provides protection from viruses and bacteria, including avian influenza. As

we remind consumers each and everyday, there are four basic food safety steps to follow:


  1. Does proper food handling prevent avian influenza?
  2. Avian influenza is not transmissible by eating properly prepared poultry, so properly

prepared and cooked poultry and eggs are safe to eat. The chance of infected poultry or eggs

entering the food chain is extremely low because of the rapid onset of symptoms in poultry as

well as the safeguards USDA has in place, which include testing of flocks, and Federal

inspection programs.

  1. What does proper food handling mean?
  2. Proper handling and cooking of poultry provides protection against all avian influenza

viruses, as it does against other viruses and bacteria, including Salmonella and E.coli. Safe food

handling and preparation are important at all times. USDA continually reminds consumers to

practice safe food handling and preparation every day.

Cooking poultry, eggs, and other poultry products to the proper temperature and preventing

cross-contamination between raw and cooked food is the key to safety. You should:

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw

poultry and eggs;

  • Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw poultry and eggs away from other foods;
  • After cutting raw meat, wash cutting board, knife, and countertops with hot, soapy water;
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure poultry has reached the safe internal temperature of at least

165 °F to kill foodborne germs that might be present, including the avian influenza viruses. Sanitize cutting boards by using a solution of 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water.

Contact USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline with questions

Consumers with questions about the safe storage, handling, or preparation of meat,

poultry, and egg products, can call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at: 1-888-MPHotline,

that’s 1-888-674-6854. The hotline is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Also, “Ask Karen” is the FSIS virtual

representative available 24 hours a day to answer your questions at




- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

Join Our Newsletter

Our mission is to help you be more medically prepared. Join our newsletter and follow us on social media for health and safety tips each week!

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