Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year where many of us become aware of what we’re grateful for and we dedicate a day to giving thanks for all that we have in our lives. But what if we practiced this act of gratefulness on a regular basis? Would that impact our overall well-being and general state of mind? Would people be happier and less negative?
The answer is simple….absolutely.
Giving thanks and regularly demonstrating an ”attitude of gratitude” towards life can have a tremendous impact on your health, both mentally and physically. Not only are grateful people overall happier with their lives, but studies have shown that those who frequently practice gratitude, report less health concerns, take better care of themselves, and are much more likely to have extended life expectancies.
Health Benefits of Gratefulness
- Improved Immune System: With gratitude generally comes optimism. Studies have shown that people who are optimistic typically have good overall health. To be specific, a study conducted of first year law students from when they first started class to their midterms, showed that those who were characterized as optimistic actually had a higher number of blood cells to protect their immune system, even under stress, as opposed to those who were not optimistic. Optimistic individuals have also been known to eat healthier and exercise more regularly, further improving their immune systems.
- Decreased Stress: As we all know, stress can cause an array of health issues. It’s very detrimental to your health and is linked to several major causes of death, such as heart disease and cancer. However, gratitude can actually help us become better equipped to manage stress. Research is starting to show that when gratitude is practiced regularly, it can have an incredibly positive impact on our ability to cope with daily problems and stresses.
- Stronger Relationships: Demonstrating gratitude can go a long way in all kinds of relationships. Couples who express gratitude towards each other, generally have more positive feelings for each other. They are also more likely to have longer lasting relationships. In the workforce, managers and bosses who express gratitude towards their workers, may see that their employees are much more motivated to work hard. People love to feel appreciated. It really goes a long way!
Tips to Help You Practice Gratitude
Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be the only time of the year you focus on gratitude. There are easy ways to incorporate a grateful mindset into your everyday regime.
- Keep a Journal of Gratitude: Either weekly or daily, write down a specific number of things you are grateful for. This number could range from 3-5, whatever your preference is, and these don’t have to be major life changing things. They can be simple, everyday occurrences. Whatever makes you happy, write about it. This will help you keep a positive outlook on life and block negativity from entering your mind. Any time you’re feeling down or gloomy, you’ll have this journal to look at and remind you of how great life can be. If you’re not into writing, then simply make mental note of what you’re grateful for and remind yourself multiple times a week.
- Meditate: Meditation is a great way to relax your mind and focus on the present moment without allowing any distracting thoughts or negativity to enter your mind. Try focusing your meditation on the idea of gratitude and gratefulness, or a simple thing your are grateful for, like the sun shining. The more you practice this, the more gratitude will start to become a part of your way of thinking.
- Write a Thank You Note: Send a quick note to someone you really appreciate, thanking them for all they do. It will not only make you feel better about yourself, but it will make that person feel amazing and help strengthen the relationship you have with them. You receive what you put out into the universe. So by constantly sending out positivity, you will see it in your life as well.