Happy Father’s Day!  This post is dedicated to my husband-the father that does so many things well that it is hard to even explain it into words.  But there are other amazing fathers in my life too.

My own Dad is pretty amazing. My father-in-law. My uncles.  My cousins are rocking the Dad thing. My brother.  The list goes on and on.

To say that I am grateful for these people is an understatement.  Gratitude is a noun but Father’s Day is about practicing gratitude..about BEING grateful.  Last month, I tried a gratitude journal experiment. But one important person got left out…until today.

Gratitude Challenge Background

I went to a conference a couple of months ago and one of the exercises was to write down 2-3 things that you appreciated about a co-worker that you knew well.  A person that I admire a lot said this about me

  • Validates feelings of others, encourages people to try new things, creative/ forward thinking

 

And it felt good.  It reminded me of something another colleague said a long time ago about me:

  • She gets things done.

I don’t know why those two things stand out so much.  But sometimes, it’s the tiny words of encouragement that really make you feel amazing.

And so I started trying to tell people I know what I appreciated about them.

30 Days 30 People Gratitude Challenge

Every day on Instagram/Facebook, I posted a quick note to a friend, relative or colleague telling them what I thought was so special about them.  The goal was to get to 30 days…I failed.  After about 19 days, I missed a weekend and that turned into a week and then it kinda fizzled.

(Maybe I don’t get things done after all, Stephen).

Still Grateful

Some people that I meant to get to got left out.  My mother in law, Carol Taylor; my old friend, Leilani Mason; many great co-workers from San Diego, all of the day care providers and babysitters that we use or have used in the past.

I didn’t quite get to all of them because life got in the way.  But, the one that deserves it the most was designed to be the grand finale (and fall time-wise right around Father’s Day).  My husband.

And….I didn’t get it done.

Happy Father’s Day

So, let me take this moment to be grateful for all Father’s but especially the father of my own three gorgeous children.  I really could make a list of the things that are amazing about him (and it would probably embarrass him more than anything).

That list would include awesome chef, killer of bugs, parking wizard, two handed midnight bottle feeding champion, boo-boo kissing expert and all around good guy.  But most importantly, he is a person that always encourages me to take risks and to go after the big things. And for that, I am most grateful.

Kyle Taylor, this is your day! I could not do the things that I do without you doing the things that you do.   I am grateful beyond words that we both decided to play Bar Poker on some random day way back when.  And for every single day since.

Gratitude Journal Recap

For a recap of all of the people that I did get to…watch this little video.

And maybe go tell the people in your life that you are grateful to them.

 

Why a white daisy?

Apparently, when people  are asked to draw a flower, the first one that comes to mind for a majority of people is the daisy shape.   This single flower (just the flower part without the stem or any leaves and on a solid black background) was show to study participants after being shown a high-arousal negative image. Examples of high-arousal negative images include awful things like violence, injuries and car crashes.  Two trials were conducted:  in the first subjects were shown a high arousal image and then either a) the flower image b) a mosaic of fragments of the flower image or c) a visual fixation point.  In the second trial, the high arousal image was followed by either a) the flower image, b) a chair (deemed a neutral image) or c) a blue sky with clouds (deemed a positive non-floral image).   Systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings were taken throughout the experiments.  

As expected, mean blood pressure was lower when participants viewed the flower versus the fixation point or the mosaic flower,  but what was unexpected is that the flower image actually reduced mean blood pressure to a level lower than the baseline.  Both the flower image and the blue sky had a similar positive impact in changing mood from negative to positive (with the blue sky having the most overall impact).  However, only the flower (not the sky) caused a reduction in mean blood pressure.  It was determined that viewing a simple flower image could in fact change a negative mood into a more positive one and also decrease blood pressure. 

The power of the single flower image was then studied in regards to salivary cortisol levels.  During this study, the high-arousal images were once again paired with the flower image, the flower fragment mosaic or the fixation point.  Once again, only the flower image was shown to significantly decrease stress during the recovery phase. One final examination looked at fMRI images of the brain during these conditions.  Through this imagery it was discovered that the flower image was effective in decreasing the amygdala-hippocampus activation that occurred after viewing the high arousal images. Researchers speculated that the flower image was a distraction tool that was helped prevent the recall of the stressful images.  

The brief viewing of this single flower image was shown to be effective at reducing negative emotions and created better functioning of both the cardiovascular and endocrine systems! Having such a simple tool available to help reduce stress and regulate unpleasant emotions and is one possible tool for interrupting ruminating thoughts or unpleasant flashbacks.  

About the Author Jen Taylor

Jennifer Taylor, LCSW, RPT is an experienced child and family therapist and public speaker who specializes in trauma, ADHD, and conduct problems. Discover more about her diverse clinical background and family. Reach out to Jennifer with questions or comments by emailing at info@jentaylorplaytherapy.com

Jennifer Taylor, LCSW, RPT is an experienced child and family therapist and public speaker who specializes in trauma, ADHD, and conduct problems. Discover more about her diverse clinical background and family. Reach out to Jennifer with questions or comments by emailing at info@jentaylorplaytherapy.com

  • Beautifully written! Everyone needs and loves validation. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…you are a great trip organizer and planner. Better even than Sandy (but we won’t tell her that).

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