This Thanksgiving many will gather with family, and loved ones to give thanks for the things they are the most grateful. Thanksgiving comes around once a year and makes us feel a sense of wonderment being with family and friends on this special day; However, did you know that living a life of gratitude every day provides life altering benefits that you may not even realize?
Below are five powerful benefits of living a life of thanksgiving everyday that make you happiest and healthier.
Being grateful for things in our lives makes us happier in general. When we give thanks for all that we do have, it focuses our attention on what’s really important. It puts things in perspective in a way that has huge benefits. Focusing on all of the things that are right in our world gives those things more power over the negative things that are apart of lives. The negative things we all experience just seem to pale in comparison with all of things that are good in our lives.
Being grateful can actually make you more popular. Have you ever been around someone that complains ALL the time? If you think back, I bet you have… How did it make you feel being around that person? When you have a grateful attitude, people tend to like you more. It just makes you a nicer person to be around. Who doesn’t like being around nice people?
Being grateful, keeps you humble. It’s hard to be envious of others when you are humble. Being envious of other people is a negative emotion that has negative consequences. Being envious of others and comparing yourself to others will drain you of your peace. It’s hard to be at peace when you are at war in your own mind.
Being grateful improves your relationships with your mate, friends and loved ones. Showing an attitude of gratitude around those we love, strengthens those bonds. Who doesn’t like to feel appreciated? When you express your gratitude and thanksgiving for having others in your life, you make them feel incredible. It makes you feel good too!
Being grateful makes us healthier. Dr. Paul Mills, a professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California School San Diego School of Medicine, conducted a study. The study included 186 patients, both female and male. The average age of his subjects were 66 years old. Each of his subjects already had some degree of heart damage. They either had experienced a heart attack, had years of uncontrolled high blood pressure or some type of infection that had caused damage to the heart.
Each of his subjects filled out a survey detailing how grateful they were for the people, places and experiences in their lives. Amazingly, the more grateful the patients were in their life experiences, the more healthier they were overall. Over time he examined tests that measured inflammation in the heart, plaque build up and the body’s response to injury and he found lower levels in them all for those patients who where grateful.
He conducted a follow up study on a smaller sample of 40 patients that had a strong indicators for the potential of developing heart disease. They had signs of inflammation or abnormal heart rhythms. The subjects were instructed to keep a gratitude journal with for several days a week noting 2-3 things that they were most grateful. After two months, he retested these patients and found their levels of inflammation were reduced, and their heart rhythm had improved.
Dr. Mills quotes, “Taking the time to focus on what you are thankful for,” he says, “letting that sense of gratitude wash over you — this helps us manage and cope.”. To that I say.. Absolutely, Dr. Mills….. Bring On The Gratitude!
As a nurse I have counseled patients and many singles over the years that have struggled with loneliness and depression. When we focus on on all the things we perceive as wrong in our lives, we multiply the feelings of stress and anxiety surrounding those events. By increasing the sterss and anxiety in our lives, we also increase the risk for depression. When we get outside of our heads and circumstances to give thanks for everything right in our lives, the magic of healing begins to take place.
Can’t find anything in your life to be thankful for? You won’t have to travel far to find a reason to be thankful. Volunteer in your community to assist at your local food pantry or homeless shelter. Look into the eyes of the children you see there. There’s just something about not looking away and looking deeply into the painful eyes of a child that puts things into perspective.
If you allow that experience to envelope you…….It will change you.
Another way to experience thanksgiving every day is to simply start each day with a grateful heart. Upon waking repeat to yourself, “today I give thanks for all the good this new day will bring”.
Finally, you can also incorporate daily gratitude in your life by giving thanks at the close of each day before you to go bed. If you are a spiritual person, you can, of course, pray and give thanks to the God you serve.
If you are not a spiritual person, then you can simply keep a journal by your bed and write down just ONE thing that day for which you are thankful. It’s doesn’t have to being any thing earth shattering. Just a simple thing for which you are thankful, like the smile on your children’s faces, good friends, a great meal,or seeing a beautiful sunrise that day. You don’t have to choose all of the above things, just choose one to implement in your life to make real and lasting changes. Just start giving thanks and being grateful for whatever it is that makes your life brighter. It will make you much more happier and healthier….Now that’s something to be thankful for!