At the end of November, Thanksgiving will provide us all a reason to think about our gratitude. It’s a day to think about the blessings in our lives and be grateful for what we have.
The Harvard Medical School defines gratitude as:
“A thankful approach for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives…As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”
In other words, gratitude can make you feel good about yourself and the world around you. Here’s a little more on how gratitude can help.
Improves Overall Wellbeing
It can help your overall mindset and wellbeing to approach situations by being thankful for what you have, and not ruminating over what’s missing. Gratitude makes you more agreeable, open, and accepting of the circumstances around you.
Strengthen All Your Relationships
When you are grateful for the people in your life, you are also more patient and forgiving. This attitude can strengthen bonds between people and the satisfaction associated with having them in your life.
Gratitude Improves Optimism
Grateful people tend to look at the world in a more positive manner. When people are grateful and appreciative for what they have, they tend to look at the world more optimistically and see hope. This type of attitude can cause people to look more favorably on overall health and exercise.
Approaching life from a position of gratitude helps us make decisions that can serve us down the road. When we are grateful for something like our health, for example, we are more likely to make decisions that align with staying healthy (going to the gym, avoiding unhealthy foods, etc).
The feeling of gratitude makes our minds healthier which can in turn have a positive effect on our bodies.
What Does It Look Like to Apply Gratitude in Your Life?
When your mind drifts to work, school, family, or your to-do list in general, you can train your mind to redirect to the positive aspects of what is in your life. You can spend a moment before you go to bed thinking about what went right during the day. Consider purchasing a gratitude journal, where you can write down three things you are grateful for every day.
For parents, you can spend more undistracted moments with your children. You can ask them what they are grateful for on any given day. You could even share with them one thing that you are grateful for yourself, to set a positive example.
When someone goes out of their way for you or does you a favor, make sure to express your gratitude. This can be through a verbal thank you or a written note.
There are many ways to practice gratitude in your daily life. Feel free to get creative. Now is the perfect time to go out and try it. And the parts that work, you can keep in your life long past Thanksgiving.