The Power of Gratitude: Why Thanksgiving Matters:
Every year, millions of Americans gather for Thanksgiving to celebrate family, friends and connection. Thanksgiving is more than just a cultural tradition, however, and science now shows that celebrating Thanksgiving and practicing gratitude can elevate our levels of happiness. Gratitude enriches human life and mental well-being. Gratitude increases self-esteem and increases your energy levels. Gratitude elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. Gratitude strengthens relationships, reduces stress and improves health.
So how does gratitude improve health? On one level, it helps people to sleep better. A 2009 study of 401 people— 40% of whom had clinical sleep disorders— found that the most grateful people had better sleep quality, normalized sleep duration (not too long or too short), were able to fall asleep faster at night and also had less daytime tiredness compared to those who weren’t as thankful.
Gratitude also puts situations into perspective. When we make a point to see the good as well as the bad, it becomes more difficult to complain and stay stuck in a rut. Gratitude helps us realize what we have and reduces our constant need for wanting more all the time. So while it may seem easier to focus on problems and grievances, you should make a point to introduce a little gratefulness into every day instead.
Gratitude not only helps you, it also helps those around you. Other people are moved, opened and humbled by your expressions of gratitude.
So how can we increase our gratitude? We can make gratitude a daily habit. At the end of every day, I try to write down at least one thing that I am grateful for. This simple, daily ritual improves my mood, (which is particularly helpful after frustrating days) and gives me more energy for the next day.
Take time every day to appreciate what you have as well as those you have around you. Happiness, meaning and value in life don’t come from external things, they only come from within. Happiness is not discovered, it’s created on an individual basis based on the attitude you have.
So this Thanksgiving, express gratitude for all you have. When you express gratitude for something, you attract more of that thing into your life. Gratitude is one of the surest paths to continued happiness. Gerald