Give thanks all year, you’ll be a lot happier

November 23, 2016 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Minds

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Have you thought about what you are thankful for? Read this and you may just decide to practice gratitude all year long.

Gratitude is a state of thankfulness and appreciation for what you have and for what is meaningful to you. It’s acknowledging the goodness in your life, and the source of that goodness. Gratitude helps you connect to something larger than yourself. Gratitude can help you refocus on what you have, instead of what you don’t.

There’s even research to back it up. Research suggests gratitude makes you happier. It is associated with more positive emotions, reduced depression and a greater sense of overall well-being. Specially, gratitude can help you:

  • Build relationships – Showing appreciation can help you win new friends
  • Improve physical health – Grateful people are more likely to take care of their health, exercise regularly and attend regular check-ups with their doctors
  • Improve mental health – Gratitude reduces negative emotions like resentment, frustration and regret.
  • Enhance empathy and reduce aggression
  • Promote sleep
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Deal with adversity – Recognizing what you are grateful for makes you more resilient when times are difficult

Think about how good you feel when you give someone else a gift. When you acknowledge what you’re grateful for, it makes you feel good too.

We all have the ability to develop an attitude of gratitude. It doesn’t cost anything and it doesn’t take much time:

Reflect each day – Pick a time each day to sit down and reflect on what you are grateful for, such as a positive memory or a past blessing. Think about it at night as you lie in bed before sleep.

Write a thank you note – Choose someone who you haven’t had a chance to thank for something they did. Or, just think of someone who you appreciate in your life and send them a thank you note.

Verbally thank someone – Has someone done something nice for you? Thank them! Thank a stranger for holding the door or a coworker for helping you at work.

Keep a gratitude journal – Get in the habit of writing down one thing each day that you are thankful for. What went right that day? Don’t overthink it. Even something as simple as you had a nice dinner works.

Pray – If you find peace in prayer, use it to give thanks.

Meditate on it – Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Focus on what you're grateful for (your health, the people in your life, etc.).

‘Tis the season of showing thanks. Kick off this Thanksgiving by showing gratitude, and then count your blessings all year long. It’s one of the simplest ways to be happier.

Feeling persistently sad or anxious? Get support from Linden Oaks Behavioral Health.

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