How gratitude makes a difference for veterans

How gratitude makes a difference for veterans

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Gratitude is one of the core values at the local nonprofit 23rd Veteran.

Mike Waldron, the executive director, describes gratitude as a “power tool in our arsenal of health and wellness.”

The first thing they do at a board meeting or a program meeting is share something they’re grateful for.

“The science shows that people who have a healthy gratitude practice, they have lower breathing rates, lower blood pressure, lower heart rates, less anxiety, less depression, higher immunity to disease, and a higher resilience to trauma,” Waldron said.

He encourages people to receive gratitude and not just give it.

“If somebody tells you why they’re grateful, maybe what kind of position they were in before they experienced maybe your help and what that help did for them, and then now what kind of position they’re in and how they feel,” he said, “and putting it in that story format and then thinking about that story maybe one, two, three times a week, has shown to be much more effective than just writing that gratitude down.”

23rd Veteran helps veterans relate negative triggers from military experiences to positive memories and emotions.