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No Ka Oi Health

As we near the end of 2020 and reflect on this year, it’s been quite a year, from a new pandemic that has literally shut down the entire world to a nail-biting presidential election here in the U.S. Regardless of these and other challenges in life, we have the choice to be grateful, even for the small things in our life. The saying I’ve personally been using this year has been, “If you’re given lemons, make lemonade.”

So, my thoughts for everyone, especially as we enter into the holiday season, is to focus on anything in your life that you are grateful for. COVID-19 has doled out its challenges, but I hope each of you can think of at least one positive aspect that has come your way, whether it’s more time with your family; time to bake, play games or start a new hobby; or the fact that we live in a “technology era” so you can video talk with family or friends all over the world.

Even when COVID-19 is gone, there will always be challenges — globally, locally and in our own personal lives. But it’s important to remember that nothing is 100 percent negative. Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote, “Only through the darkness can you see the stars.” There are always positive aspects to be grateful for. Noticing and focusing on the “stars” in the darkness will help you to stay positive and hopeful even during the most challenging times. Then, staying positive and hopeful helps you to remain healthy. This is where the power of gratitude comes in! Gratitude leads to health.

Here is another famous quote: “Your thoughts become your words; your words become your actions; your actions become your habits; your habits become your values; your values become your destiny.” Again, here is the power of gratitude!

• By “thinking” grateful thoughts, you become more positive and hopeful. You choose to see the good in any situation rather than seeing the negative.

• This leads to the “words” you choose to use, spoken to yourself and to others. Positive words to yourself help you to believe in yourself. Positive words to others help them to feel more positive.

• These positive words lead to positive habits! These positive habits can include managing stress better, getting more sleep, eating healthier foods and getting more exercise.

There truly is power in gratitude!

So, for this holiday season, starting today, my challenge for you is to spend a few minutes each day (preferably first thing in the morning) focusing on the aspects of your life that you are grateful for. Write these gratitudes down in a journal or a notebook. As you focus on all the things you are grateful for, notice how your thoughts become more positive, and then your words, your energy and eventually your healthy habits.

Happy holidays everyone! If you would like more simple tips on living healthy, call Public Health Education at (808) 984-8216.

* Kristin Mills is a public health educator with the state Department of Health’s Maui District Health Office. No Ka Oi Health is published on the second and

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