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My Favorite Holiday

(Published on - 11/23/2016 11:57:52 PM)

“If the only prayer you said in your entire life was, “Thank you”, that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

 

I’m not sure where Thanksgiving ranks on your “List of Favorite Holidays”, but for me it’s #1. I didn’t always see it that way – especially when I was a child. In those days Christmas and Easter were on the top of that list. Yet as I journey through adulthood and parenthood Thanksgiving has slowly become my favorite holiday. (My apologies to Santa and the Easter Bunny.) To be honest, it’s not only the actual holiday that I’ve come to love and appreciate. It’s not all the delicious food I get to eat on Thanksgiving, either. It’s really all about how gratitude as a way of life has helped me grow and benefit in many ways. In fact, I’m now more convinced than ever that gratitude may be the most overlooked and powerful tools that we have access to everyday. 

Here are 5 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude that you can practice everyday:

1.  Gratitude makes you look better! 

Well, gratitude does, in fact, improve your physical health and that in turn could make you look better! Besides, according to a 2012 study in Personality and Individual Differences, grateful people experience fewer bodily aches and pains. They also report feeling healthier than other people. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health through exercise and regular check-ups with their doctors.

2.  Gratitude makes you happier. 

It’s not the happy people who are thankful. It’s the thankful people who are happy. In 2015, the Journal of Religion and Health found that those who were more grateful for who they are and what they have were also happier and more hopeful than others. Many studies have shown that when people take the time to list the things they’re thankful for, they not only feel better physically, but also emotionally. 

3.  Gratitude increases your mental strength.

A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience. Gratitude not only reduces stress, but also plays a major role in overcoming trauma.

4.  Gratitude improves your relationships. 

In 2006, Psychological Science found that those who expressed more gratitude were also more likely to help out others. The study also found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or you send a quick thank-you note to that co-worker who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.

5.  Grateful helps you sleep better. 

It’s not just the crazy amounts of turkey you ate at Thanksgiving dinner. According to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, writing or verbalizing the things you’re thankful for can improve the quality of your sleep. Spend just 5 minutes acknowledging few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.

 

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

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