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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gathering around the table to give thanks this Thanksgiving is something that can add years to your life, research shows.“The grateful mind reaps massive advantages in life,” Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis and the founder a research lab that studies the effects of grateful living. “Health and wholeness, wellness and fullness result from the systematic practice of a grateful living.”He said grateful living can have many positive effects on health and well-being.“It literally breathes new life into us. It recharges and it rejuvenates,” Emmons said about gratitude, which he defines as “an affirmation of the goodness in one’s life and the recognition that the sources of this goodness lie at least partially outside the self.”One research study that Emmons lead in 2003 also found that participants who took time weekly to reflect on things for which they were grateful reported fewer symptoms of physical illness and spent more time exercising.A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 2015 found that people who took part in a diary exercise twice a week asking them to document people and things that helped them at work "reduced their stress and depressive symptoms significantly."Sara Algoe, an associate professor of social psychology at the University of North Carolina, studies the role gratitude plays in interpersonal relationships.Her research has found that gratitude is good for relationships and has "follow-on effects" for physical health."Taking the moment to acknowledge the things that people do for us that we really value actually has downstream consequences for both people," she said. "When couples express gratitude more frequently and descriptively to each other, they are happier in their relationship."Another study study published last year that followed people with Stage B asymptomatic heart failure found patients who did gratitude journaling showed "improved biomarkers related to heart failure morbidity."Thanksgiving and gratitudeThanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to show gratitude, according to both Emmons and Algoe, because the two go hand-in-hand.“The word ‘thanksgiving’ literally means, giving of thanks. Thanksgiving is an action word,” Emmons said. “Gratitude requires action.”To receive the health benefits of gratitude this holiday season, Emmons recommends moving beyond the tradition of naming your blessings at the Thanksgiving table.“I think that a reflection of how our lives have been made so much more comfortable by the sacrifices of those who have come before us down through the generations should be the focus of how Thanksgiving should be observed,” he said.Emmons explained thanking those who paved the way for you is more “satisfying and sustaining.”“This sort of transformational thinking can be revolutionary,” he said. “And this way of thinking can draw us out of our self-involved and self-contained worlds to a deeper awareness of those forces which make that very world possible in the first place.”Thanksgiving is also an opportunity to "shore up the ties" of family and remind people what you love about them, according to Algoe."When you feel grateful, don’t forget to say it to people," she said. "Expressions of gratitude are like candy and they keep people coming back for more. The data really shows that."Emmons cited celebrities like Goldie Hawn, Russell Wilson and Matthew McConaughey as people who have mastered one of the keys of gratitude: Making it about others, not about ourselves."This is the single most important thing that I've learned about gratitude. It's not about us," Emmons said. "We turn gratitude into a self-focused personal project. The focus becomes how I am doing, instead of what others are doing for me."Algoe's research has also found
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  • ABC News(ATLANTA) -- A student at Morehouse College in Atlanta who was looking for some extra credit ended up getting more than he bargained for. A rap video he made for his biology class has gone viral, with nearly 660,000 views on YouTube.The young scholar, Julien Turner, transformed the Lil Uzi song, “XO Tour Llif3,” into a biology lesson with educational lyrics like: “The DNA starts to unwind. The RNA reads the other side. Meiosis is the key to making life. Mitosis copies cells about to die. If my genes go left unread, all my cells are dead.”Turner, a linebacker on the college’s football team, said the idea came to him as he was sitting in bed after a game one night.“[I] was listening to 'XO Tour Llif3' and I remembered [the professor] had assigned an extra credit assignment where I could make a music video out of anything, and ‘all my cells are dead’ just kept repeating in my head,” Turner, 19, a marketing major, said on “Good Morning America” Monday. “I scrambled to check my notes to make sure it had something to do with biology and I started writing lyrics that were parallel to the song so I could remember it better. I called up a few teammates and we made the video, and it just blew up from there.”His professor, Dr. Dwann Davenport, said Turner earned the extra credit with his creative music video.“I actually heard about it before I even checked my email to see that he’d turned it in,” Davenportd said. “I see the text message with the link and I clicked on it and I was like, ‘Oh this is catchy. This is nice.’ I saw all the likes and all the retweets and I was like, ‘Wait, this is my student. Wait a minute, this is Julien. Oh my goodness.’ I was so excited, but I didn’t expect anything like this.”Davenport said Turner was already “an excellent student doing well in the class, minus the extra credit.”“He’s an athlete, he’s on the football team. He’s amazing,” she said.Turner said he and his younger brother also started their own production company, Dreadhead Films, several years ago, and that “it’s crazy” this video went viral because “it’s the worst film” he has ever made. He said his brother is usually the cinematographer and editor, but he didn’t work on this one.Music runs in Turner’s family. His father, Kevin Turner, is a jazz guitarist and music professor at Ohio State.
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  • Sassy Mouth Photo / www.sassymouth.net(MERIDEN, Conn.) -- One 5-year-old girl had one wish before her fourth open heart surgery -- get married to her best friend.Sophia Chiappalone's mother, Kristy Somerset-Chiappalone, told ABC News she'd do anything to give another smile to her daughter, who was born with several heart defects.Chiappalone, who has already undergone three open heart surgeries during her short lifetime, spent much of her early life in Hartford Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit. She's now being treated at Boston Children's Hospital, where she is scheduled to undergo her fourth open heart surgery in January."It became apparent that her heart wasn't looking as well as they would like and we knew she needed treatment," Somerset-Chiappalone recalled. "So I asked Sophia, 'What do you want to do? Do you want to go to an indoor water park? Do you want to go on a shopping spree, maybe get some toys?'"And she said she wanted to be a princess and marry Hunter," the Meriden, Connecticut, mother of three recalled.When Somerset-Chiappalone, 36, told Tracy Laferriere, the mother of her daughter's bestie, Hunter, what her daughter wanted, the family was on board."Immediately I started crying," Laferriere, 34, told ABC News. "If it's in my power to give that to her how could I not?"Laferriere's best friend is photographer, Marisa Balletti-Lavoie, and offered to give Chiappalone a mock wedding photo shoot. She even got Bliss Bridal in Chester, Connecticut, to supply a veil and a little wedding dress -- well, really it was a flower girl's dress -- for Chiappalone.The two best friends, who met in preschool, spent an hour on Oct. 23 inside City Park in Meriden, capturing the fall-inspired wedding images."Just seeing Sophia's smile, he didn't complain once," Hunter's mother said of the photo shoot. "He was genuinely having a fun time. They were laughing together, tickling, swinging and on the slides. I think he really enjoyed it. I think it makes him happy to see her happy."Although it seemed that Sophia "felt like a princess" and "radiated the whole time," Somerset-Chiappalone said for her there were mixed emotions."I was trying so hard to be strong," she admitted. "I'm trying to be strong for Sophia. In reality, she's slipping into heart failure more and more, and this might be the only time I ever see her in a wedding dress. That was going through my head."Still, the mom has her own wish for her daughter: "I wish that she keeps her fighting spirit. And I hope she never loses her quality of life ... no matter what the end result is."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) -- The mother of a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who was detained by Border Patrol agents after undergoing surgery is fighting to get her back.After undergoing gallbladder surgery Tuesday, federal agents refused to release Rosa Maria Hernandez back to her parents, sending her instead to a children's shelter in San Antonio, Texas, that her family said is not equipped to care for her, according to the attorney representing the mother."It’s painful for me to know that my daughter is there and I can’t help her," Felipa De La Cruz said today through a translator. "I would like to have her near me so I could be the one who is helping her and supporting her right now when she needs me the most.""But it’s difficult -- when I start to think about her, I start to get sad and I start to become desperate," De La Cruz added through tears on a call with reporters.De La Cruz said she and her husband came to the U.S. in 2007 to give their children better opportunities and obtain better medical care for Rosa Maria, who was three months old at the time.On Tuesday, Rosa Maria was traveling with her cousin, a U.S. citizen, from Laredo, Texas, to Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi when the vehicle was stopped at an interior border checkpoint, the family said. De La Cruz had not traveled to the hospital with Rosa Maria because of her own immigration status, an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union said.When Border Patrol agents discovered that Rosa Maria was not in the U.S. legally, they accompanied the ambulance to the hospital and stayed outside of her room while she recovered from surgery, according to an attorney for the family. They then refused to release her to her parents and referred her to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which placed her in a children's shelter, the attorney said.Undocumented children are held in custody by ORR, which is run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).Both the mother and daughter are undocumented, according to the ACLU."It’s stunning that federal agents would be waiting outside the hospital room of a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy," Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said today. "This apprehension occurred despite the fact that the sensitive locations policy is still in effect."Customs and Border Protection consider hospitals and other medical treatment facilities to be "sensitive locations" where enforcement actions "should generally be avoided, and require either prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action."According to Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol agents encountered her at the checkpoint, and due to her condition, escorted her and her cousin to a Corpus Christi hospital where she could receive appropriate medical care.“Per the immigration laws of the United States, once medically cleared, she will be processed accordingly. The Mexican Consulate has been advised of the situation by Laredo Sector Border Patrol,” said a CBP spokesperson in a statement.It is not clear whether there is a deportation order against Rosa Maria at this time.The family has also expressed concern that the children's shelter where she is being kept is not equipped to care for her medical needs. Leticia Gonzalez, the attorney for Rosa Maria's family, said her hospital discharge papers state she should be cared for by her family. Gonzalez said Dr. Haroon Patel has been able to see Rosa Maria at the shelter, but not her primary care doctor. Patel signed discharge papers saying Rosa Maria should see her primary care physician within three days of her surgery."In the best interest of the patient, it is recommended that she is discharged to a family member familiar with her needs," Patel wrote in the discharge papers, according to Gonzalez.Immigrants' rights advocates and the ACLU are working to reunite Rosa Maria with her family. Rosa Mar
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A festive fall exercise fad that uses pumpkins as props to help you get toned in time for Halloween has taken social media by storm this year.Josey Greenwell, a trainer at Barry's Bootcamp, demonstrated four simple moves live on "Good Morning America" that can help get your body in shape and make you feel less guilty about indulging in Halloween candy.To get into the Halloween spirit, Greenwell replaced a traditional medicine ball with a pumpkin while doing this full body workout.While the size and weight of your pumpkin can vary based on your individual skill levels, Greenwell emphasized that you should be sure to exercise with a new, fresh, pumpkin instead of one that has been sitting around for a few weeks and may become soft or get crushed under your weight.When pumpkins are no longer in season, feel free to swap out the fall produce for a medicine ball instead to burn off the Halloween treats.Here is Greenwell's full-body pumpkin workout:1. Pumpkin push-upThis push-up move strengthens the abs, chest, arms and shoulder muscles, according to Greenwell.2. Jack-O'-lantern swingUse this swing move to strengthen the core, back and shoulder muscles.3. Squash squatGreenwell recommends squatting to help strengthen your hip and thigh muscles.4. Pumpkin seated Russian twistThis festive Russian twist helps tone your oblique muscles.
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