Thanksgiving is a time when we typically gather with family or friends to celebrate and give thanks. Even though this year presents challenges, many families are finding ways to virtually gather or meet in smaller groups. During this time it’s common for us to have some ritualistic practice of gratitude. Some people say a prayer. Some families take turns naming something for which they are thankful. For many Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings a feeling of warmth and happiness. However, that feeling does not have to be limited to social gatherings or a single day. In fact, incorporating a practice of gratitude into our daily lives can have a profound positive effect on all of us.
Gratitude has long been one of my favorite emotions. In my own life I have experienced and witnessed the amazing transformations that it can ignite. It can snowball. By consciously finding something to be thankful for every day, we unconsciously become generally more grateful. This shift leads to a boost in our own happiness. It’s pretty simple if you really think about it. It’s not ground-breaking to say that thinking of things that make us happy instead of dwelling on things that don’t is going to make us happier over all. I mean… come on.
Beyond just the obvious benefits to our own mental and emotional state though, gratitude affects our physical well-being and can increase our aptitude for success. As an energy addict I subscribe to the Karmic law that we reap what we sow. So it would stand to reason that I believe that putting out yummy grateful vibes would have concrete positive results. When it comes to gratitude, science supports this theory! Research shows us that having a daily practice of gratitude decreases loneliness. Feelings of gratitude increase our capabilities of self-control and decrease our stress levels. Some studies have even reported that those who establish a daily gratitude practice reported better quality in their relationships, an easier time taking part in exercise routines, and less symptoms of illness.
So this year instead of giving thanks for just one day maybe assign yourself the task of finding something for which you’re grateful every day. You could start a practice of saying something aloud before every meal, begin a gratitude journal, or say a prayer each night. Maybe you want to wake up and find a way to express gratitude for the new day or send a “thank you” text to a friend. That act of kindness would benefit you and the recipient of your gratitude. However you do it, gratitude could be one step toward becoming a happier you. And on the hardest days when you can’t find something extrinsic for which you’re grateful, you can thank yourself for being awesome enough to stick with a practice that will benefit you in the long run. In the spirit of the season, thank you for reading. Truly, thank you. I wish all of you a safe, healthy, and Happy Thanksgiving!