In the U.S, Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday dedicated to gratitude. In many American households, the Thanksgiving meal includes going around the table as each person says something for which they’re grateful. This practice may contribute to enhance happiness and well-being. Indeed, research shows that noticing the good on a daily basis can make you feel more positive about your life. That makes sense, doesn’t it? When you focus more on the good than the bad in your life, you’re more likely to face each day in a positive frame of mind.
Expressing gratitude can also make you feel better physically. Research shows that grateful people tend to engage in regular exercise and other healthy activities, and they’re proactive in seeking help for health concerns. Research also suggests connections between gratitude and better sleep (quality and duration), greater psychological health (including reduced risk of depression and lower levels of stress), and better heart health. To enjoy the many benefits of a gratitude-filled life, try these techniques:
- Keep a daily or weekly gratitude journal. First thing in the morning or at the end of each day or week, write down 1-3 things you’re grateful for.
- Tell a spouse, partner or friend something you appreciate about them every day.
- When expressing thanks, practice saying “thank you” in a sincere and meaningful way.
- Take “gratitude walks”. Walk outside and notice as many positive things around you as you can—sights, sounds, smells, or other sensations.
- Write a letter of gratitude to someone who did something for you for which you are grateful but to whom you never expressed your gratitude.