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Gratitude Isn’t Just For Thanksgiving!

8 ways you can give thanks all year.

Nov 15, 2019

Turkey day is coming.  Do you take a few minutes at Thanksgiving dinner to count your blessings?  Awesome!  But what about the rest of the year?  On a normal day, do you ever stop to think about the things you’re grateful for?

If not, you may want to, and here’s why: Evidence shows that a consistent practice of thankfulness produces material changes in the brain and body, affecting mood neurotransmitters, social bonding hormones, and stress hormones.  Put more simply, being thankful on a regular basis makes us happier!

When you’re crazy busy with school stuff,  gratitude might not be the first thing you think about, but it is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your state of mind.  It’s amazing how much just a few minutes of giving a little thanks each day can help.

It’s amazing how much giving a little thanks, for just a few minutes a day, can improve your state of mind.It’s amazing how much giving a little thanks, for just a few minutes a day, can improve your state of mind.
  • Those who practice consistent gratitude have lower levels of envy, resentment, frustration, materialism and regret–and higher levels of self-esteem and life satisfaction.
  • They’re better equipped to deal with problems that come up.
  • They relate better with others.
  • Writing down what we’re grateful for five minutes every day can increase our long-term happiness by over 10%.

Being thankful on a regular basis makes us happier.Being thankful on a regular basis makes us happier.

And guess what? 

It can also make you physically healthier.  Being grateful can affect the brain’s hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulating metabolism, sleep, body temperature and growth.  Here’s some other evidence:

  •  A 2012 study found that grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and feel healthier than other people.
  •  Practicing gratitude brings longer and better-quality sleep time.
  • Grateful people exercise more and are more likely to take better care of their health.  They also recover quicker from stress.

Kind of unbelievable, right? 

But it’s true, and so easy to do.  Why not try a couple of these ideas below, starting--but not ending--with this Thanksgiving:

Keeping a gratitude journal is very effective to increase happiness.Keeping a gratitude journal is very effective to increase happiness.

Meditation and prayer are ways to practice gratitude and improve your mindset.Meditation and prayer are ways to practice gratitude and improve your mindset.
  1. Keep a gratitude journal.  This is one of the most effective methods. Keep a notebook next to your bed and jot down the day’s blessings before you nod off. This could improve your sleep, too!
  2. Thank others.  Write thank-you notes, or even better, read your letters to those you appreciate face-to-face. Send a thank-you note at least once a month, even if it’s just to your parents!  Also, write thank-you notes to yourself!
    Write thank-you notes to practice gratitude.. Write thank-you notes to practice gratitude..
  3. Picture someone.  Think of someone you’re grateful for. Mentally thank this person in your head, and list reasons why you’re thankful for them.
  4. List your blessings.  At the same time each day/week, write a list of 5 things that went right for you or things you’re grateful for. Be specific, recalling how you felt at those moments.
  5. Pray.  If you’re religious, this is a great way to remind yourself to be thankful.
  6. Try Meditation/Mindfulness. When you meditate, you’re forced to shut out all judgements and focus only on the present moment. This creates a feeling of well-being and helps you figure out what is most important in your life.
  7. Make it visible. Keep objects and photos of things you’re grateful for in your room, in your locker or in your bag.   When you’re having a bad day, they can be a reminder to refocus on the positive.
    Keeping objects and photos of things you’re grateful for around you can help you refocus on the positive.Keeping objects and photos of things you’re grateful for around you can help you refocus on the positive.
  8. Turn it positive. At least once a day, when you catch yourself thinking something negative, figure out a way to turn it positive. Angry at someone? Try to think of this person’s good qualities or choose to respond to your anger in a positive way. Perception is reality, and mind is a powerful tool to affect change in your life.

When you catch yourself thinking something negative, figure out a way to turn it positive.When you catch yourself thinking something negative, figure out a way to turn it positive.
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See?  These activities are totally doable!  Do you have any you want to add?  Tell us in the comments section below!