Giving Thanks, Gaining Health?
Thanksgiving is built around taking stock for all the good and bad things you have encountered during the year and taking the time to be grateful for them and for everyone who has made an impact in your life during the year whether it is positive or even negative.
November starts off the holiday season with everyone having high expectations for a festive and cozy time of year but for some this time of year can be one of depression, sadness and anxiety from feeling overwhelmed or just lost. However, one aspect of the season that can be good for uplifting the spirit is the gratuitous one that is incorporated into the holiday. With that being said thanksgiving should be done more than once a year seeing as the psychological benefits of giving thanks are so immense.
Gratitude is the thankful appreciation by an individual for what they receive be it tangible or intangible and with gratitude one can be able to acknowledge all the good in their lives. Giving thanks enables people to realize that goodness can come from external sources as well. It helps a person to also connect to something that is bigger than them such as a higher power if you will.
Being grateful could be the key to a healthier you and many a time we overlook it thinking it does not make a big difference to us. Gratitude can improve your emotional, psychological, mental and even physical well-being.
Cultivating and building relationships
Gratitude is a stepping stone to more relationships that are stronger because saying thank you shows that you have good manners and this show of appreciation could be the key to you winning friends. Research has shown that thanking a new acquaintance will make them more eager to seek a new relationship. So just remember to say thank you or acknowledge other people’s efforts and contributions and you may have a new opportunity at your fingertips.
Better physical health
Gratitude also comes from within; your body will thank you if you treat it well by having a salad more often, drinking more water, exercising more or attending medical check-ups regularly and you will begin to feel healthier and more energized. This should also be done all through the year and not just once in a while and you will be surprised at how much better you feel.
Enhanced emotional and psychological well-being
Being thankful reduces multiple toxic emotions whether it is regret, frustration, resentment or envy. Lots of studies have been conducted indicating the significance of gratitude on a person’s well-being and they have found that it has a positive impact on an individual’s psychological health by reducing depression and increasing happiness.
Reduced anger and enhanced empathy
If you are more grateful you will find that you are more likely to behave in a manner that is pro-social even when others do not reciprocate the gesture. Studies have shown that individuals with a higher rank on gratitude scales are less likely to retaliate against other people even when they are given negative feedback. These individuals tend to experience more empathy and sensitivity towards others and have a reduced desire to revenge against those who have wronged them.
Better your sleep health
Want to better sleep? Try writing in a gratitude journal even just for 15 minutes or less. Write down some grateful sentiments in this gratitude journal before going to sleep and you will find that you’ll sleep longer and better. We all know how essential it is to get a good night’s sleep which enables us to have a more productive day the next morning, be more energized, refreshed and ready to face the new day with a kick.
Writing down gratitude lists can also increase your chances of making progress toward personal goals you deem important be it health-based, interpersonal or academic.
Boost your self-esteem
Be grateful for who you are and your abilities because there is someone out there who cannot do what you can do and does not have what you do. We hear this all the time and the truth of the matter is that it improves our self-esteem greatly by reducing social comparisons to other people who are higher up on the scale. As opposed to resenting people with better jobs or more money- which tends to be a primary factor in diminished self-esteem- people who are more grateful with where they are and who they are can better appreciate the accomplishments of others.
Boost your mental strength and resilience
Research over the years has indicated that gratitude does not only reduce stress levels but it can also play a significant role in overcoming trauma. A study showed that Vietnam War Veterans who had higher gratitude levels experienced lower levels of Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder. Following September 11th terrorist attacks, a study identified that gratitude contributed greatly to resilience. How? Recognizing everything that you have to be thankful for even when you are at your worst can foster mental strength and resilience which enables you to emerge from these bad situations even stronger than before.
Everyone is capable and has the opportunity to be grateful and so we should take a few moments each day, month or even in a year to concentrate on and be thankful for all we have instead of complaining about what we think we deserve. Once you start or continue doing this you will find that you have improved your zest for life in one of the simplest ways.