I would like to wish all of my American readers a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. No gift giving, just coming together with friends and family over a beautiful harvest meal. I hope part of your Thanksgiving tradition is to also take a moment to give thanks. Turns out this can benefit your health.
According to Psychology Today, studies show that gratitude can be deliberately cultivated and can increase levels of well-being and happiness among those who practice this art. In addition, grateful thinking—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism and empathy.
There is actually published research on the topic. Study participants are asked to record either what they are grateful for or the hassles they experience.
When your gratitude leads to optimism and it often does, this is a boost to your immune system. Expressing gratitude leads to a more optimistic outlook, less stress and a stronger immune system. What’s not to love about it?
Are you in a rut, focused on all the negative things in your life? Consider it your new prescription to begin a daily practice of gratitude!
Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2013 Dec;17(6):575. Gratitude: a gift of cancer. Mayer DK.
Span J Psychol. 2010 Nov;13(2):886-96. The effects of counting blessings on subjective well-being: a gratitude intervention in a Spanish sample. Martínez-Martí ML, Avia MD, Hernández-Lloreda MJ.