Gratitude as a Practice

by Elizabeth Campbell, MS, LPC
 

For the last four years, I spent a week in a remote village in a developing nation.  

Every year I return, touched by the beauty of the families and the community that hosts me and the group I go on the service trips with, and immensely thankful both for the experience and to return to the “comforts” of life.  I am thankful for reliable and safe, hot water that comes on when you turn a handle, healthy and abundant food, a car and safe roadways….the list goes on and on.  

A month later I forget everything in the day to day and get lost in the frazzled life so many of us live.  I take it for granted.  I share this not to shame myself and everyone else that forgets daily just how lucky we are.  Instead, I hope to put into perspective how a simple practice of gratitude, not just on Thanksgiving, but everyday can transform many of the daily frustrations and negative feelings we experience.  
 

So often during the holidays our schedules become more crunched and we are more anxious and stressed than ever.  


We may feel more disconnected from what grounds us and what we are thankful for.  But it is hard to be annoyed with traffic or at a loved one that ruins the mashed potatoes when your heart is filled with gratitude for having a car, being able to travel, and that a loved one is present and celebrating with you.  

This can take on many forms.  One may be a gratitude journal.  Listing things that we are thankful for, big and small, on a daily basis can help us to shift into gratitude.  Another way is to bring the things we are thankful for into our mind during meditation, one at a time, breathing and focusing on each one. For families, sharing something we are thankful for prior to meal or bed times can help everyone make this shift.   No matter what form your gratitude takes, notice what happens in your body during this practice.  Often we feel a lightening, calm, or happiness as a result.  I wish a very happy, thankful holiday season to you and yours.
 

For more information on Elizabeth Campbell please call 610-757-8163, email elizabeth@elizabethcampbellcounseling.com, or visit elizabethcampbellcounseling.com

Beginning a Meditation Practice over the Holidays

By Catherine McLaughlin and Jen Perry

The holidays are a special time of year. Extra time with family and friends, invitations to parties and events, giving and receiving gifts, all that delicious food - but adding all the “extras” of the holidays to an already busy life can leave us feeling anxious and stressed.
 

Here’s how meditation can help:


When we’re stressed, our brain’s amygdala is triggered. The amygdala houses the “fight or flight” response and is responsible for feelings of fear and anxiety. Research shows that a regular meditation practice decreases the size of the amygdala, and strengthens areas of the brain responsible for self-regulation, cognitive flexibility, planning, problem solving, emotion regulation, learning, memory, and may help to stave off depression and PTSD symptoms. So all the stress and anxiety from too much wrapping, traveling, seeing relatives, and partying can be managed through meditation.
 

But where should you start? Here are a few steps for beginning a meditation practice: 


1. Start slow. Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier and build meditation into your morning routine. You’ll know when it is time to increase your meditation time.

2. Be flexible. If something unexpected happens one morning and you can’t meditate, find another time during the day. Over your lunch break at work, in your car in the grocery store parking lot, before bed - any time you can squeeze in 10+ minutes of quiet.  

» Read More

For more information on Catherine McLaughlin, call 267-800-5073 or visit www.cmjcounseling.com.  For more information on Jen Perry, call 215-292-5056 or visit www.heartfulnesscounseling.com.  
 

JOY to the World

by Karen Steinbrecher

Upon reading this newsletter, the Thanksgiving Holidays have passed and the December Holidays are fast approaching. No doubt, we live during a challenging period of time.

I would like to share some inspiration with you from a book that reads like a novel, and not what it appears to be as a non-fiction “self-help” book. Written with Douglas Abrams, by his holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu is “The Book of JOY”.    With chapters such as “Fear, Stress, and Anxiety, Frustration and Anger: I would shout, Sadness and Grief: The Hard Times Knit Us More Closely Together, Loneliness, Envy, Suffering and Adversity: Passing through Difficulties, Humility, Humor: Laughter, Joking is Much Better, and more, this book reads like a breath of fresh air.”
 

“What is this thing called joy, and how is it possible that it can evoke such a wide range of feelings?


The Archbishop and the Dalai Lama looked at each other and the Archbishop gestured to the Dalai Lama.  “Yes, it is true.  Joy is something different from happiness.  When I use the word happiness, in a sense I mean satisfaction.”  The Archbishop later explained “When we realize that we are all children of God, and of equal and intrinsic value, then we don’t have to feel better or worse than others, God uses each of us in our own way, and even if you are not the best one, you may be the one who is needed or the one who is there.”

» Read more

Karen Steinbrecher leads QiGong classes at the Resiliency Center on Thursdays at 2:00 pm and 6:20 pm. 

Featured Programs

 

Winter Camp for Teens

This is a one-time workshop over winter break that was designed to empower teen girls to improve self-esteem and learn practical skills to manage anxiety and/or sadness.  Camp will be held on Thursday, December 29th from 9 am to 4 pm and only 12 spaces are available.  

Please visit www.creativehealingphilly.com/winter-coping-skills-camp to apply for a space in group.

 

LGBTQ Teen Therapy Group

This is a weekly therapy group for teens of the LGBTQ community, ages 13-18, held Sunday evenings from 5pm to 6pm in Flourtown, PA. Group sessions focus on helping teens explore their self-identity, promote and foster emotional resiliency, provide education on issues related to sexuality, and strengthen their support system.

For more information or to schedule and initial evaluation please contact Stacey Vinci at 267-989-9113 or staceymvinci@gmail.com
 
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December Events


Learn more about all of our offerings – and how to RSVP – by clicking on the program title on our online calendar or following the links below.



Rumi and Hafiz Poetry Evening

Monthly on Wednesdays, 7:30 pm
» RSVP on Meetup

 

Supporting Moms through Motherhood

2nd Wednesday of the month
9:30 – 11 am
» RSVP at at catherine@cjmcounseling.com or 267-800-5073.



Women’s Mindfulness Group

Monday mornings

» RSVP to Jen Perry at jen@heartfulness consulting.com

 

 

The Greater Philadelphia Holistic Parents Meetup

4th Saturday of the month
10-11:30 am
» RSVP on Meetup
 
 

DBT Skills Group

» Pre-registration required

 

Rest, Restore, and Move Class

No classes in December
» Learn More on Meetup

 

Healthcare Professionals Networking Breakfast

1st Wednesday of the month
9 – 10:30 am
» RSVP Required

 

EMDR Consultation Group for Therapists

Monthly on Fridays
» Learn More
 
 

EMDR International Association Regional Network Meetings

Every other month on Fridays
» Contact Elizabeth Venart, EMDRIA Regional Coordinator, at 215-233-2002 or Elizabeth@ elizabethvenart.com to learn more.

 

LPC Supervision Group for Therapists

2 Wednesdays per month at 5:30 pm
» Learn More

 

Interstitial Cystitis/Pelvic Pain Support Group

Monthly on Wednesdays at 7:30 pm

 

 

Teen Group Therapy Circle

Weekly
» Learn More



Philadelphia Writers Workshop

Tuesdays, 7-10 pm
Pre-Registration required
» Learn More

 

Morning Meditation

Mondays at 8:30 am
» RSVP on Meetup

 

Evening Meditation

Thursdays at 7:30 pm
» RSVP on Meetup
 


Qi Gong Classes

Thursdays at 2:00 and 6:15 pm
» RSVP on Meetup
 


Knitting Circle

Monthly on Saturdays 
» RSVP on Meetup


» Learn about these programs and more on The Resiliency Center's events page and online calendar   
 

Quote of the Month


“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.

And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”  


— Maya Angelou, Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer
 
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