With Thanksgiving around the corner, we prepare to gather with family and friends to feast together on turkey, pumpkin pie, parades and football. A favorite holiday of mine, traditionally free from commercial trappings, it’s a time to reflect on all we are grateful for. But if you’re like me, you probably don’t reserve gratitude for just this one day of the year, which is a good thing , as we are learning the value of expressing gratitude on a regular basis.
In the article, The Science Behind Gratitude (and How It Can Change Your Life) by Derrick Carpenter, MAPP, he states that the benefits of practicing gratitude are endless. Research shows that people who regularly practice gratitude, just pausing to notice and reflect upon what they are thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal-regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we are thankful-can significantly increase well-being and satisfaction.
In Jessica Cassity’s article, How to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude, according to researchers at Eastern Washington University, there are four primary characteristics of grateful people. They tend to:
- Feel a sense of abundance in their lives
- Appreciate the contributions of others to their well-being
- Recognize and enjoy life’s small pleasures
- Acknowledge the importance of experiencing and expressing gratitude
What is your gratitude practice? If you are interested in learning more about one practice, consider reading 5 Reasons Keeping a Gratitude Journal Will Change Your Life
by Yoni Cohen.