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Thank You is Good For You

Healthy Lifestyle

Daily Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year. We gather around our Thanksgiving tables to count the many blessings we have in our lives. But did you ever consider making “thanksgiving” a daily ritual?

No, I don’t mean the food binge or the stress of the holiday rush, but rather the attitude of gratitude that flows freely during the holiday season. Have you ever considered the health benefits of saying “thank you”?

In giving, we all receive

The holidays can be a difficult time for people because they tend to be very busy this time of year. People tend to experience the holidays as a stressor. However, if you can decide that at this time of year you’re going to focus more on relationships and a spirit of gratitude, appreciation and blessings, and less on gifts, Christmas cards and a seven-course dinner, you generally can experience a significant reduction in stress and a marked increase in your ability to experience joy.

Stress reduction and joy are just two of the benefits people receive from gratitude. Researchers have discovered that gratitude also helps people:

  • Feel more positive emotions
  • Relish good experiences
  • Improve their health
  • Deal with adversity
  • Build strong relationships

An attitude of gratitude

When people pay more attention to the things they have to be grateful for and the blessings in their lives, they generally are less depressed, are less anxious and have healthier relationships.

An "attitude of gratitude" can improve physical and emotional health. Research suggests that individuals who are grateful in their daily lives actually report fewer stress-related health symptoms, including headaches, gastrointestinal (stomach) issues, chest pain, muscle aches and appetite problems. Those who offer gratitude also are less envious and resentful, sleep longer, exercise more, and report a drop in blood pressure.

Steps to reduce stress

So how do you go about achieving this peace? Here are a few ideas you can try:

  1. Write down one thing you are thankful for each day. Journaling a single blessing each day can help you refocus on the positive aspects of your life on a daily basis.
  2. Share your blessings with others. Letting others know how grateful you are for your own blessings might help them acknowledge the good things in their own lives. Let your own gratitude “go viral.”
  3. Perform a weekly random act of kindness. Finding just the right moment to make someone else’s day can greatly improve your own. You may also inspire someone else to “pay it forward,” creating a chain of goodwill.
  4. Pray, meditate or practice yoga. Take time to absorb the present moment and call on a higher power for peace.

Thankfulness can be shared

Ultimately, being grateful is more than an act of thanks here and there; it is a way of life. Positivity breeds happiness, and it can spread as it is shared with others. If someone is saying thank you for the things that you do, it fosters the spirit of giving, appreciation and reciprocity. It feels good to be appreciated. Everyone wants to feel valued and acknowledged.

And sharing that “goodwill among men,” no matter the season, is something to be thankful for.

Brenda Herrod

About the Author:

Brenda Herrod is a board-certified women’s health nurse practitioner who is passionate about inspiring and sharing her healthy lifestyle with others.

She is also an AFAA Certified Personal Trainer, C.O.P.E. Certified Health Coach, and Precision Nutrition Health Coach working with employees at Methodist Health System.

See More Articles by Brenda Herrod