For thousands of years, spiritual leaders, religious authors, philosophers, and countless others have instructed us to cultivate feelings of gratitude. Without the science to statistically prove it, these individuals instinctively knew the benefits of being thankful. When asked, most people agree.
During this time of year, we are actually given a holiday, Thanksgiving, to express our gratitude for what we have been given. We can create a list, or take the 30 days of thanksgiving Facebook challenge, or simply express our gratitude at the dinner table on Thursday afternoon. Thanksgiving is a holiday that reminds us to examine what we have been given rather than focus on what we lack.
There are lots of benefits of being thankful to ourselves and to others. Today, we have plenty of research that tell of the benefits of being thankful. Researchers have found found that expressing gratitude improves how we feel, makes us more likely to do positive things, improves relationships, and is even related to better sleep. Think of it – being thankful is related to mental health, physical wellbeing, and improved relationships, just to name a few.
We tend to get caught up in all of our problems and frustrations. These are the things that cause us to worry and keep us up at night. Change that. Find some ways to be more grateful during this holiday season. When I thought of this, I came up with a practical list for me to be more thankful. This is my list of things I might actually do.
- SMILE and say thank you
- Give a bigger tip than usual
- Write a thank you note to someone
- Pray for the sole purpose of expressing thanks
- Replace frustrations with thoughts of gratitude for something
- Buy a small gift for someone
I’m sure you can come up with some different ways to show your gratitude. Remember the persona benefits of being thankful as well as the benefits to others. Take a few minutes a show gratitude to God, a friend, family member, or coworker. It will do them (and you) some good. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
What are some ways you like to show your gratitude? Leave your comments below. We would love to hear from you!
Emmons RA, et al. “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Feb. 2003): Vol. 84, No. 2, pp. 377–89.
Grant AM, et al. “A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way: Explaining Why Gratitude Expressions Motivate Prosocial Behavior,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (June 2010): Vol. 98, No. 6, pp. 946–55.
Lambert NM, et al. “Expressing Gratitude to a Partner Leads to More Relationship Maintenance Behavior,” Emotion (Feb. 2011): Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 52–60.
Wood AM, Joseph S, Lloyd J, Atkins S. Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. J Psychosom Res. 2009;66:43–48.