Happy Thanksgiving!

Benefits of Feeling Gratitude

Hanna Kim - November 14, 2018

A Shoutout For Gratitude

A popular tradition on Thanksgiving is to go around the table and each name something that we are thankful for in our lives. What if we applied this to our everyday lives? Is there any reason to do that? Science says yes, there are a number of benefits to acknowledging the things we appreciate.

Research in positive psychology has seen an uptick in recent years, including a study that focuses on actions that increase individual happiness in American Psychology. Martin Seligman and his team found those who produced a one-time act of intentional gratitude produced a 10% increase in happiness and 35% decrease in depressive symptoms which lasted six and three months respectively.

In addition, participants who participated in daily journaling for a week reported small, incremental increases throughout time and were so happy with the exercise they continued to journal on their own. Regularly incorporating small mindful actions into our lives can lead to long lasting, positive change.

Celebrate The Good Things Each Day

In the study above, participants simply wrote about three things that well each day. Try taking just five minutes each night to jot down a few things you’re grateful for, and why they make you feel that way for bonus points.

If you’re feeling stuck, here are some more prompts to get you going:

  • I’m grateful for these three things that happened today:
  • I’m grateful for three things I sense (see/hear/feel/smell/taste):
  • I’m grateful for these three plants:
  • I’m grateful for these three animals:
  • I’m grateful for these three people:
  • I’m grateful for these three colors:
  • I’m grateful for these three things in my home:
  • I’m grateful for these three experiences in my life:
  • I’m grateful for these three places I’ve been:
  • Etc.

An alternative is keeping a gratitude jar or box. After you write down the three things you’re grateful for, place them in the jar and repeat. Over time, you’ll see the pile of things you’re grateful for grow, and it can serve as a visual reminder of all the things that bring you joy. Applying the theme of gratitude from Thanksgiving to our daily lives can make us feel happier and more fulfilled. Happy Thanksgiving - each and every day!

"I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual."
-Henry David Thoreau

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