Amanda Dinsmore (00:01.426)
Hey guys, welcome back to the podcast, I'm Amanda.
Kendra Morrison (00:06.623)
and I'm Kendra.
Amanda Dinsmore (00:08.566)
And I just have to point out that we got our first one star review on the podcast, which makes me... It just totally cracks me up. I do not know. I like, I hope that person's okay, you know? But for the rest of you, if you think we deserve more than one star, go ahead and scroll down and leave us a review. I'm gonna read.
Oh bless you, whoever did that, that gave me a giant chuckle.
Amanda, I think that was probably that lady who thought you slept with her husband.
Amanda Dinsmore (00:47.194)
That did happen. I am like, what in the world? I've never been so insulted. Anywho, Renee Payton writes, nuggets of wisdom. And she gives us five stars as opposed to the other person. Even though these ladies specifically help physicians, you can find wisdom and help no matter what field you're in. Love this podcast. We love you, Renee. Thank you so much. And today.
Kendra Morrison (01:11.903)
We do love Renee.
Amanda Dinsmore (01:13.818)
Yes, we do. We do love Renee. Everyone needs a Renee in their life. I happen to know who this Renee is. And she is amazing. We are grateful for her, which takes us into today's podcast. It is releasing on Thanksgiving. So we're going to talk about gratefulness.
Kendra Morrison (01:33.758)
Yes, I am grateful for Renee and just wanted to shout out she is my ride or die, but also enjoyed the Dolly Parton podcast probably more than we did. So she's my she may be just a little more Dolly than me. So shout out to her. Thank you, my dear sweet friend. So we are talking about gratitude today. We are so excited to bring you this podcast just because not only because obviously this is the week where we should reflect on it, it's the week of giving thanks and but to put it in perspective and to talk about it in a way maybe that you haven't thought about before and just to give you a little bit of an expanded knowledge of what joy and gratitude are and what they really mean
Kendra Morrison (02:28.72)
of the heart, but the gifts of imperfection. And it is one of our favorites because it really does start to open up our mind to just being able to be vulnerable. And sometimes when we feel a moment of joy or a moment of gratitude, it can be very vulnerable. And you know, that's not always safe and secure place to be for a lot of us. But she gives us...
Kendra Morrison (02:56.422)
a very cool piece of wisdom. She said in her book, one of the most profound changes in my life happened when I got my head around the relationship between gratitude and joy. And so that's what we really want to talk about today. She thinks that when she did her research in her book and out of all the surveys that she returned, when she was trying to define joy and gratitude, she felt like these had to go together. There wasn't a mention of people describing a feeling of joy without
some mention of gratitude or a sense of being grateful and vice versa when people explained situations where they felt great
a gratitude or an immense sense of gratitude, that feeling of joy just is right there with it. So she felt like these were two peas in a pod. And she realized that most of the people that describe their joyful situations were some of the most grateful people. So when she kind of divvied it out and went through the research and noticed there was three patterns of people.
And she described them as the ones that had a truly joyful life or express their life as feeling joy most often or more often. They had an act of gratitude practice and really credited this practice to being able to reflect and sit with those joyful situations. And I'll also say in her book, she noticed that
she started to question that old adage of like having an attitude of gratitude. And she uses the example she was like, Oh, I have an attitude of yoga. Like I have the clothes. I absolutely believe in meditation and mindfulness and all the things, but to get me on the floor on the mat to do the yoga, she was like, so my attitude matches yoga, but I don't practice yoga. And so that's why she really encouraged us to shift our thought instead of having the attitudes.
Kendra Morrison (05:01.816)
can identify with being grateful, but if you don't practice it, if you don't put it into the work,
and do the thing and just really practice that gratitude. She was like, that's when it becomes next level and that's when you can really identify that situation for which you felt the most joy usually does go along with something that you're grateful for. She also states that joy and gratitude really describes spiritual practices. So one of the perspectives she,
describes is that she noticed that when people describe joy, they also had a very firm sense in a higher power or something that the universe a higher power, God, whatever you believe that there was something higher in control and that we necessarily weren't in charge of these situations. They're almost kind of divine situations that we were just able to be a part of. And so she does
Kendra Morrison (06:02.308)
as well as these practices as really something that's a little bit above what our own brains can comprehend and definitely has an element of, you know, knowing that we are not in charge of the universe, we're just living here, but we can experience all that it has to offer and really we're not in control and being and able to be secure in that fact also allowed for that vulnerability to really just kind of be able to sit in that vulnerability and experience it to the
The other thing was some of the people that reported back in the surveys, they really did describe a difference between happiness and joy. And really happiness was more tied to the emotion that was available in a circumstance. So there really had to be a circumstance present that produces that emotion of happiness, whereas joy was a way of actually engaging in a situation or in the world or with the people around you.
gratitude in that certain situation of joy was really the integral piece of that. So not necessarily that we feel an emotion of joy or gratitude, it's really like an experience and then a practice. And so I think that is really that impacted me in a different level to really understand, yes I do reflect part of my daily meditation and like prayer and my gratitude practice is
things or situations or maybe something coming up, but I don't think I could really experience it in the moment if I didn't realize that, you know what, there is a sovereign and I'm not him and thank goodness for this opportunity. So my particular gratitude practice
is a time of meditation and I usually start my day off it. Sometimes it's five, 10 minutes. Sometimes I get 30 minutes, but it is really basically reflecting on, you know, things that I'm grateful for, whether in the moment, or maybe that had happened, you know, in the last day or week or whatever, or something I'm looking forward to. And I'm really preparing my mind and my body, my spirit, mind, body, spirit, mind, body and soul for to really prepare to even experience what I'm looking forward to.
Kendra Morrison (08:22.828)
to and that allows me to just be present and so when I do find myself in that situation and I can remember like oh I've already prepared myself and I'm just gonna enjoy and be present in the moment and I think that's that is really the crucial part of it
I would say that just recently it was interesting because I am not a hunter. I do not hunt. I don't desire to hunt. I do not hunt, but some of my family does. And so a few days ago, this is hunting season, and I was here with my son and my husband was on call. And so he took my son out hunting in the morning, but then he ended up getting a couple of cases and he couldn't go in the afternoon. My son really wanted to go.
And so whereas he was like, mom, how about we just go on a hike and oh, but we're wearing camo and I have my orange hat and he's bringing a rifle. So basically he was just like, let's lure mom out here just to sit with me so I can go hunt. And while I was like, sure, whatever. I really, once we got up and situated in the tree stand and had no intentions of shooting anything or being, you know, just to sit there and enjoy that moment with my son.
the tree line because we were kind of high up and watch the sun set back over the tree line watch the colors and really just to be there with my son and now I have that memory like I can say I went hunting n ber one but n ber two I have now a memory of just sitting up there in nature with my son while he's scouting everything listening to him you know tell me mom I see him he's coming back look over the crest you know just listening to
our surroundings and noticing that amazing sunset and just being grateful that I had that hour by myself with my son and I was extremely grateful for that and now I have that memory and he has that memory probably wasn't as impactful to him but maybe someday he could say I went hunting with my mom so I'm extremely it was extremely grateful for that and definitely felt joy in the moment
Amanda Dinsmore (10:39.926)
So full disclosure is we drew straws to see who got the first section versus the second section and that rascal Kendra won because I'm about to butcher a name here. Everyone buckle your seatbelts I don't know what's gonna happen here. In her book The How of Happiness, Sonya? I know. Sonya
Kendra Morrison (10:55.314)
Kendra Morrison (11:03.209)
You never know what's gonna go down on the drive time.
Amanda Dinsmore (11:09.166)
Lyubomersky, professor of psychology at UC Riverside. God bless it. Lyubomersky. We'll just have to type it in the show notes. I don't know. I'm really trying. Yes. Anywho, this fabulous lady is a professor of psychology at UC Riverside. She hails a gratitude practice as one of the most effective ways to increase our happiness. She calls it a meta strategy. Oh my Lord.
Kendra Morrison (11:18.538)
We're sorry, Sonia. If you're listening to this, we mean well. We mean well.
Amanda Dinsmore (11:38.066)
She calls it a meta strategy for achieving happiness. She defines gratitude as wonder, appreciation, counting blessings, thanking someone, thanking God, savoring, and not taking things for granted. And I think that's really important because back in the day, I used to leave my shift. It's just really easy to diminish the things.
instead of savoring the things and then wondering why we feel crummy all the time. Well, there's wonderful things all around us and if we just are constantly diminishing it, then no wonder it's not registering. No wonder things seem like they do. Not taking things for granted is such a fantastic practice to start. It can definitely start with, it's the little things that even are
sometimes the most impactful to like not diminish all of the little things that are happening all the time. She also calls it an antidote gratitude, an antidote to negative emotions and a neutralizer of envy, avarice, jealousy, hostility, worry, and irritation. Robert Emmons, I think I did better on his name, he's a prominent gratitude researcher. He called it a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life. Practice of gratitude involves focus on present moment and appreciating your life as it is today.
and what made it so. People, they've noticed that people who are consistently grateful are relatively happier, they're more energetic, they experience more frequent positive emotions, which is what we're all searching for. They're more helpful and empathetic, they're more spiritual, they're more forgiving, they're less materialistic, and they're less likely to be envious, neurotic, lonely or depressed and with this spiritual thing it doesn't necessarily a lot of people will get hung up on Religiosity, it's not the same thing spirituality is feeling connected to others It's feeling that there's something more important than they hear it now
Kendra Morrison (14:28.926)
Yeah, and I will say too, part of what I was found interesting in her guidepost or the chapter on this joy and belonging, I mean, sorry, joy and gratitude was that the actual things that get in the way of us truly experiencing is what we said. It's that fear and scarcity. It's like the thought that
I don't know if I can really sit in this or I don't know if I can really enjoy this. We like go there and experience the joy and then we're like, oh my gosh, the floor, this is too good to be true. The floor is gonna drop out. What, that's gonna happen. Our brain just offers up this fear and scarcity and it does not allow us to truly enter in and that space of vulnerability to feel that joy be present in the moment. I thought that was so interesting because you think like, oh, opposite of joy is unhappiness or like not pleasure or like
Whatever or like the opposite of gratitude is just like selfishness and that's not it at all the thing that actually gets in the way of us like truly entering in this or practicing this all the time is Fear and scarcity and she even calls that she termed it foreboding joy Where we just like refuse to experience it because oh my gosh something bad's gonna happen. I'll lose them too soon I can't really enter in this moment with my significant other cuz they're totally for something happen You know, just these terrible thoughts
Amanda Dinsmore (15:47.117)
Kendra Morrison (15:54.448)
But that really keeps us from experiencing this, from connecting. And connection is really what this is about.
To be clear, Kendra's talking back about Brene's book. Right, I'm not, we've got two books going here. I don't wanna be confused, but yeah. Right, correct. So I will also say that something interesting occurred to me and probably as a result of the conversation I had with my coach not long ago.
Amanda Dinsmore (16:15.342)
Not not lewobomerskies. Lewobomerskies.
When we are in a situation where we feel some negative emotion, especially regarding another person, like we're feeling annoyance, that is actually an opportunity to practice gratitude. Because Dr. Lyubomersky just told us that gratitude is a neutralizer for all this negative emotion, including irritation.
And so when we feel annoyed, if we want to keep feeling annoyed, we can. But ultimately too much annoyance exhausts me and I think it exhausts most of us. So if we look at that as an opportunity to step back and find something to be grateful about, probably not about the thing about which we're annoyed, but something else going on, something else that's going right. Like we always talk about what for what's going right.
That's a way to be grateful and to neutralize some of this negative emotion when people are driving nuts. So one little tip right before you meet with all your folks at Thanksgiving. So in the How of Happiness book, she described a study that where
Amanda Dinsmore (17:46.226)
Yeah, enjoy Thanksgiving everyone.
participants were asked to write down five things for which they're grateful once a week for ten weeks in a row. So this isn't even like daily. A lot of people do daily gratitude practice but once a week. And they had control groups of five where people would write down five daily hassles or five major events that happened during that week. So relative to the control groups, those who wrote gratitude lists tended to feel more optimistic.
and satisfied with their lives. They actually had fewer physical symptoms like headache, acne, y'all, that's crazy. Less, less acne, less, less acne, less coughing, less nausea, and they spent more time exercising. She describes, what the heck, that's amazing though.
Kendra Morrison (18:48.242)
Yeah, I think the acne is stress mediated. So if you're low stress, no acne.
Any dermatologist, here you go. Do a gratitude study on acne patients. You're making it mean some things, Amanda, I think.
Amanda Dinsmore (18:58.198)
Why is this book so hateful?
Amanda Dinsmore (19:04.118)
comment. Yeah, I am. It just told me.
Another study was those with chronic illness, when they, it was a study on those with chronic illness and on days when they were expressing more gratitude, they had more positive emotions like interest, excitement, joy, and pride. That's no surprise. They were more likely to report helping someone and feeling connected to them and they were having more hours of quality sleep.
This is just all very interesting. So she did some of her own research and in her research, she researched like what the most effective amount of gratitude practice might be of a specific practice. And she, in her group, it was about once a week to do something like writing this list down.
She said, step outside of your life for a few minutes and reflect on three to five things, mundane or magnificent. You know, it could be, you love the pens you're writing with or it could be you're like me at the beach and looking at the night sky and it's absolutely magnificent.
And don't forget specific individuals who have made contributions or sacrifices for you. So that's one gratitude practice is writing down the things you're grateful for. A second one would be to acknowledge when we have an ungrateful thought, noticing our ungrateful thoughts and replacing them with a grateful one. Or.
Another practice would be to express gratitude directly to another person. Hopefully we're not only saying thank you once a week. Obviously that's a lifestyle, everyday thing, but to express gratitude in a more focused and meaningful way directly to another person once a week. And she described something called a gratitude visit, which was particularly powerful, and this would be where you write a letter.
thanking them for their role in your success or your wellbeing and then taking the letter to them and maybe even reading it out loud to them. She describes in her book a woman who had written a letter to her mom and had not even sent it yet. But
she found herself feeling stressed and she opened the letter and read it and she said it was amazing how good it made me feel and how that stress just dissolved away. And I'm just going to attest to the power of this gratitude principle and it's particular with annoyance. Like I find it unusual to be annoyed.
except maybe when I'm driving. If I get behind somebody driving slow, I do. I'm like, I have to step back and like it. They may be a teenager, they may be old, they're doing the best they can. But because of this practice, and when I find myself, I'll give you an example. So finding things to be grateful about at work, which sounds, it sounds hard because we work in.
an emergency department dumpster fire. But one thing I think about is we have a staff bathroom that we don't have to share with patients. It's not like it is not fancy. It's not even particularly clean, but I can just go back 10, like 10 feet from my desk and go to the bathroom. And I think if you guys have ever watched that movie, Hidden Pictures. This, if you haven't watched it, please watch it.
It's such a good movie, but it's a true story of these Black women who worked as computers, meaning like they were human beings who did math like complex mathematical computations for the space program. So before the era of actual computers, there were these women who were doing this. But because it was during the time of segregation,
they had to walk like, I don't know, it was like at least a half a mile to go to the bathroom. And like I think about my, oh, aside from the fact that it's indoor plumbing, and I have a cousin who's younger than I am, last year was diagnosed with bilateral renal carcinoma. He had to have both his kidneys taken out. So he can't even pee at all. And here I am.
I'm at work, I can walk 10 feet from my desk and go to this bathroom and go back to work without any hassle of having to walk half a mile in the rain or having to go to dialysis. There's so much to be grateful for just in that one thing. Looking around, you can find stuff like that everywhere. I think it's looking...
And I love the way she says Dr. Lyubomersky, the way she says, step outside of your life and look at it. And I don't know why when I hear that, step outside of your life, I think of that story and it's like the saddest story, but it was based on actual events was that Little Match Girl story.
where there's this little girl starving in the street. And I'm like, dang, man, like in terms of where I am positioned in human history, in society, in the world, it's ridiculous how incredibly blessed and privileged I find myself. And so much to look around and be grateful for. And if we...
want to be grateful for no other reason than to just feel better, that is enough. But as we all start this.
this path of being more intentional and more grateful, more mindful of what actually is going on around us that is so good, then there's an old saying, you get what you look for, what you're finding, you're going to find more of, and we'll find more good together. So anyway, that's...
I'm also grateful for humor. So, like.
Kendra Morrison (26:31.786)
Yes, we are grateful for humor.
Amanda Dinsmore (26:32.17)
Another tout for Nate Bargatze. We got to listen to him yesterday and his bit on how bald, how eagles love bald men because they try to crack turtles on their heads and I was like, okay. So grateful for that.
Kendra Morrison (26:53.322)
Yeah, I will say too, another thing that I, I think I've mentioned this before. One of the things from work, being in a leadership position, there's tons of meetings which I'm not always grateful for. Meetings aren't my vibe, but.
I do find that when I'm communicating with other physicians or other administrators and I send an email, you know, I Am very I started doing this when I kind of learned about this maybe a year or two ago And I always start the email with something I'm grateful for So if I'm addressing a consultant that sends his patients to like our freestanding shop or whatever, you know I'll say, you know, good morning. Dr. whatever thank you for always trusting the care of your patients to us at the MAC or whatever. And, you know, I find that when I start that with just that little ounce of, you know, gratitude, thank you for, you know, seeking us out in this situation, even if it's not a good situation, you know, just even creating that space, like thank you for trusting me to be a part of this committee to find a solution to this pain point or this inefficient practice. It, it, I find you know, a little bit more back in the email, but also the next interaction with that person tends to be a little more
maybe I guess is what you know not so cold or just like business interaction you know it's just that part about maybe forming that community and I think when you start with gratitude you know and every time you converse with that person or whatever like even on the phone I find myself now when a consultant calls me back I'll say thank you for calling me back I have a 58 year old with a large bowel obstruction
Kendra Morrison (28:42.494)
You know, but it's just starting the conversation, however they might have felt when they came to the phone, because talking to the ER is a pain point for some of our consultants. So just even coming to the phone and waiting, like being ready to hear whatever patient presentation I need to give them, it's just saying, thank you for calling back or thank you for your time. Just real quick, and I think...
I sense, you know, maybe it's just me, but the tension and the voice isn't as much. They don't yell at me. They don't hang the phone up. They don't hang up on me. Maybe, maybe, and I don't know if it has anything to do with that or just the fact that, you know, you've been doing this for a long time, you get pretty quick and you know what they wanna hear. I don't know, but I do feel like, but you know, the little bit of, you know, starting with a little bit of gratitude or just a little bit of graciousness,
No, there's probably actual research on that.
Amanda Dinsmore (29:49.654)
We'll have to Google it. I was going to just mention that we talk about a lot of cognitive distortions and thought errors. And one that comes to mind with this in particular is mental filtering, which if you, the very thing that makes us great physicians is the ability to look for what's going wrong, because who cares what's going right with the patient, right? I mean, we need to quickly find what's going wrong and fix it, but.
That doesn't mean, if we start taking that into our lives outside of work, then that's when it gets really problematic. Because I like to think of it as like, you know, the old TV antennas. There are, at all times, hundreds of different channels that exist.
However, if you're tuned into the one where everything is terrible, that is all you will see. It doesn't mean that there aren't hundreds of other channels out there. So a gratitude practice is literally just on purpose changing the channel for a little bit to even out our tendency to have a negativity bias and our tendency to have that mental filtering, which we're so good at because we're great doctors.
Right? So it's not woo, like a gratitude practice, I think, freaks some people out. It's just simply changing the channel on purpose to make your life better.
Yeah. Well, and I think it helps move over into the right brain more. And, you know, it, through our medical training and practice, we become so, so left brained and it, it throws us for a loop. We don't intentionally get over to the right brain sometimes.
Kendra Morrison (31:41.426)
Yeah, that's really good. Thank you for mentioning that. I mean, I was thinking about that like, oh, this is that mental filtering thing. So well, we hope we've inspired you today. We sure have had fun with this podcast. And we hope that you and just get inspired. Just take a moment to really just think about what am I doing in this moment that I can be grateful for? What about you know, waking up breath in your lungs, the ability to walk on your two feet and have a brain that is functioning at the capacity that it does, whatever
Amanda Dinsmore (31:47.798)
Thanks for watching!
Kendra Morrison (32:11.4)
it is, you know, just like Laura said, it could be mundane or could be miraculous, magnificent, you know, whatever. We just want to inspire you over the next few days and really throughout the holiday season to just find, you know, that thing or the couple things that you really can intentionally be practicing gratitude for. So.
And we want to tell you that just in time for the new year and after the holiday binge, we will be live for a free class on overcoming over whatevering. Join us Wednesday, December 27th at noon central time to learn about better ways to handle our emotions just in time for after the holidays and making some better habits for the new year. Visit our website www.thewholephysician.com to get more information. And until next time, you are whole, you are a gift to medicine,
and the work you do matters.