Being Grateful Is Good for Your Health – Knox County Village Soup

Here we are on Thanksgiving once again, and this year it comes after the emotionally draining November election.

As it’s that time of year again, it’s a safe bet that someone will ask you what you’re thankful for. Aside from the predictable jokes your awkward Uncle Harry will tell about being thankful the election is over so his NCIS reruns are no longer interrupted by political commercials, you might want to take some time to really consider this question.

It turns out that gratitude can improve your health.

Not really.

There are many scientifically proven benefits of expressing gratitude. This can lead to better mental and physical health. A 2009 peer-reviewed article from the National Library of Medicine identified that gratitude stimulates the brain, including the reward system.

Basically, being grateful prompts your brain to function optimally and release feel-good chemicals. The result for you is feeling happier and better health. Think of it as a life hack.

While it’s a little frustrating to know that our brains are basically big kids who can be distracted by a fit of tears by some candy, it’s also comforting. Because other studies have shown that people experience these benefits even when they are not actually feeling grateful. You literally can fake it till you make it.

So maybe this year take a few minutes to list some of the good things in your life. Maybe those feel-good chemicals will kick in before extended family arrives.

thank you security

Thanksgiving is also a time when many people are traveling. We think this is a good opportunity to remind those travelers about some safety tips.

COVID-19 is still around, and traveling around the holidays is a very common time to feel at risk.

The number of cases and deaths have come down drastically, and widespread access to vaccines has helped in this. However, this is still not always enough. A case of COVID-19 may be mild and like a bad cold, but there are still people who are experiencing severe cases with long-lasting health consequences and death.

So if you are feeling sick, don’t travel and get tested. If you’re taking a train or plane, shopping at midnight on Black Friday, attending a football party, or any other activity involving hundreds of other people, consider wearing a mask. And test two or three days in advance.

winter is coming

As temperatures continue to drop with prices rising, homeowners are starting to get creative about saving money on home heat. Be sure that your search for affordable solutions doesn’t put your life at risk.

Last Monday, November 14, a fire broke out at a motel in Camden. We were on the scene for almost three hours while firefighters from five municipalities worked together to put out the fire.

While the Camden fire chief said he could not confirm the cause of the fire at the scene, the motel owner said his roommate was using a space heater.

Thankfully no one was hurt, but that may be because no one was inside. The damage was extensive. That entire unit of the motel was destroyed, and possibly the unit next door also suffered severe damage.

The Maine State Fire Marshal, Joseph Thomas, reported 27 fires in 2021. Thomas said it was the highest number of fire deaths since 1992, when there were 29 fire-related deaths. So far this year, 19 people have died in the fire.

Cooking and heating were the top causes of Maine structure fires in 2021, with these two causes combined for more than 500 fires. Most of these were houses of some kind.

Please be aware when cooking and using wood stoves and electric heaters. If you are not sure about the safety of your setup, contact your local fire department.

If you’re struggling to tolerate the heat, talk to your city office. Most towns have some sort of fund set up to assist residents, as well as a large collection of other resources available to them.

The editorial boards of The Camden Herald and The Courier-Gazette collaborate on important local issues.

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