It is time to GIVE THANKS! This article offers a few tips to ensure your Thanksgiving is the best yet. Take a few minutes to read this before you engage your friends and family today.
Psychology today offered a list of 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. I, Dr. Adrianne Pinkney, took the list and added a few. B. Well tips to help you enjoy the holiday. Having a successful Thanksgiving is all about your ability to be grateful! Learn more about the benefits of a thankful heart:
Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. People love to feel appreciated. We are drawn to those who make us feel needed, wanted, and necessary. If you want to attract more hugs and love during this holiday season, let people know you appreciate them. Make an intentional effort to find something positive that they have offered you this year, and say "Thank you." Here are a few examples: "Aunt Barbara, I just wanted to thank you again for sending me meals after I had a baby," "Cousin Tia, thank you for being so understanding when I didn't come to Easter dinner. I really needed to rest and take care of myself, and I appreciate you being so gracious." "Grandma, thank you for teaching me how to make this family recipe. I appreciate you trusting me with it," or maybe even, "Uncle Joe, thank you for taking the seat beside Cousin John, because you know he gets on my nerves." Wherever you see an opportunity to express gratitude, do it.
Gratitude improves physical health. Focusing on the good improves your overall well-being. Make an intentional effort to focus on what is there, instead of what is not. If the pie isn't good this year, don't dwell on it. Focus on the fact that the macaroni and cheese was the best yet. If your favorite cousin didn't come for dinner, focus on all the other wonderful people who are present. Doing so will actually make you healthier. Yes, healthy people are happy people. Happy people, are healthy people. Either way you spin it, staying positive improves your health. Take a gratitude pill and have a good day.
Gratitude improves psychological health. Speaking of feeling better in your physical body, gratitude also does wonders for your psychological and emotional health. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, found that gratitude increases happiness and decreases depression. If you are feeling a little gloomy this season (yes, the holiday season can be very stressful and depressing for many of us) get intentional about your gratitude practice. Find three things for which you are grateful. Say them aloud or write them down. Feeling grateful changes your mind, and if you can change your mind, you can change your life.
Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are less aggressive because they are not mad. When you are in a spirit of gratitude, you are in a place of abundance: whatever you have it is enough. So what in the world would you be mad about? Gratitude allows you to notice what is in your cup. If you can see what is in your cup, you will realize that it is full. When you are full, you are increasingly likely to connect with and empathize with others simple because you have the emotional capacity to do so. Grateful people can connect with others because they are energetically available to connection. You can change your whole aura by being grateful...and I bet doing that will make you a lot more attractive. (So perhaps gratitude increases your chance of finding a healthy partner too...I'll just throw that one in there. Psychology Today didn't say that, but I did).
Grateful people sleep better....and they have stronger immune systems. Enough said. If that does not sell it, I don't know what will.
Gratitude improves self-esteem. According to Psychology Today, "A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments."
Gratitude increases mental strength. Gratitude is a contributing factor to overcoming, and healing from, trauma. Resilient people are grateful. Surviving traumatic events almost naturally ignites feelings of gratitude. For example, when a teenager wrecks the car, a parent is likely to say, "I am just glad that you are okay. The car can be replaced, you cannot." After another school shooting many parents become more grateful for their children, and appreciate their children's safety. Their focus shifts from being angry about the PTAs use of funding, to being grateful for the school resource officer. Hearing about someone else's shitty relationship, usually makes people appreciate their partners: "Well, I guess he's not that bad. I am glad I'm not dealing l with no mess like that. Maybe I won't scream at him next time he leaves the toilet seat up." Even in the worst moments, our survival depends on our ability to be grateful for what is...that is what keeps us living, loving, and laughing. There is so much to smile about! Strong people can always find the good.
In Deep Gratitude,
Dr. Adrianne R. Pinkney