I really love thanksgiving because its such a happy time of year. I am a natural extrovert, so I enjoy getting together with friends and family, sharing hugs and catching up. I also love how Thanksgiving reminds us to reflect upon what we are grateful for and it fills us up with warm, fuzzy feelings.
Gratitude can be defined as “the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself” and the great news is that practicing gratitude is associated with enhanced wellbeing. Gratitude is an evidence-based pathway to happiness! Gratitude has been associated with improved physical and mental wellbeing, better relationships, improved sleep and increased self-esteem.
If you need some ideas on how to practice gratitude, here are a few psychological strategies that may increase your feelings of gratitude taken from an article in Psychiatry by Drs. Sansone:
1. Journaling - regularly writing about what you are thankful for.
2. Quiet Reflection - thinking about someone for whom you are grateful.
3. Writing letters - writing and sending letters to someone for whom you are grateful
4. Meditation - practicing gratitude meditations and present moment awareness
“Count Your Blessings” exercise - write down three things for which you are grateful at the end of each week.
5. Practicing saying “thank you” in a sincere and meaningful way
6. Writing thank you notes
7. Praying about gratitude
As a family you can also practice gratitude together and here are a few of my own ideas:
1. Make it a habit for each family member to say something that they are grateful for at dinner each night.
2. Play the gratitude game where you toss and object and whoever catches it says something they are thankful for.
3. Keep a jar and a pad of paper somewhere easily accessible and throughout the year each family member can write down things they are grateful for. Read them out loud at Thanksgiving.
I hope you are feeling all warm and fuzzy and full of gratitude today. Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to eat your fruits and veggies!
Now share with us, how do you practice gratitude?
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