Message from Michael:
Last week more than three hundred students, parents and teachers from Arapahoe High School gathered at St. Timothy’s for a program on recovering from trauma. Littleton Hospital had arranged for a psychologist from Duke University to speak as the anniversary of last year’s school shootings approaches. The terror and sadness of that day are fresh in everyone’s hearts and minds.
Dr. Bryan Sexton is a leading scholar of resilience, which is a function of a person’s ability to cope and the availability of healthy resources. Dr. Sexton shared research from this field and described studies he has conducted with thousands of people living under stress. At first it seemed he would be advising us to develop our resilience by getting more sleep, spending time with our friends and family, and having more satisfying conversations. He did emphasize the importance of all these things.
However, Dr. Sexton’s main focus was on the healing power of gratitude. He said that taking a few minutes each night before bed to write down Three Good Things can have a profound effect on our physical health and emotional well-being. His studies demonstrate that doing this practice every night for two weeks has a far greater impact six months later than taking anti-depressant medication.
Clinical studies are proving what spiritual teachers from the great traditions have always known: that human beings are hard-wired for gratitude. What makes people happy? Across generations and cultures, studies show that deliberate acts of kindness outrank every other possibility. That’s what Jesus meant when he said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
As Christmas approaches this year, be a blessing for the ones you love.
Rev. Michael (12-10-14)