5 Ways to Practice Gratitude this Thanksgiving
Gratitude is defined as the state of thankfulness. Now I think most people realize that gratitude can be good for emotional health, but did you know it can also be good for your physical and mental health? In my family, we actively try to practice gratitude year round. We find it takes the edge off when one of us is having a rough day or if we're going through something particularly challenging. So if you're looking to make gratitude a habit this Thanksgiving and beyond, here are 5 ways you can practice gratitude:
KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor who is one of the main authorities on gratitude, found in a study that those wrote in a gratitude journal weekly and exercised more regularly reported fewer physical complaints, generally felt better about their lives, and were more optimistic about the near future compared to those who written about hassles or neutral life event.
SWAP A POSITIVE FOR A NEGATIVE
If you find yourself complaining about something, switch that negative for a positive. For example, switch "my commute home took 20 minutes longer than usual" for "at least the subway was warm" or "I'm grateful for that podcast that made things more interesting." Some things are just beyond our control and complaining about it won't help your health, practicing some gratitude might.
SHARE THE GRATITUDE
Thank you notes/cards are really useful when it comes to sharing gratitude. The older I get, the more I find that the unsaid things really need to be said because when I say them sometimes people are pleasantly caught off guard. This Thanksgiving why not write a note to the significant people in your life? Let them know why you are thankful for them. You never know how it may help them.
SAY THANK YOU
Practice your manners. It really does make a difference in your own life and the lives of others. I notice when I make an effort to say thank you to the cashier, barista, waitress, etc. my mindset shifts and I realize how I am actually grateful in that situation. I've also worked most of those jobs at some point in my life. When a customer said thank you to me after a transaction, even a difficult one, I found it left a more positive atmosphere and I was happier moving on to the next task.
NOTICE THE LITTLE THINGS
Take a moment to notice the little things that bring you joy or make your day brighter. You may be surprised at how much there really is to be grateful for.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!