Every day is an opportunity to express gratitude. But Thanksgiving especially is a time to pause and feel grateful for everything you have in your life. Gratitude is a way for you to focus on appreciating what you have rather than yearning for things that you believe may make you happier. Being grateful meals you focus on what you have instead of what is “missing.”
Gratitude is the cornerstone of health.
When you can recognize and appreciate the simple things, it’s much easier to work towards healthy habits and even better health.
When you’re stressed about your imperfect health and beating yourself up about not being good enough, you send your body into a stressed state, causing you to release the hormone cortisol.
This makes you feel anxious and irritable, and more likely to go off your healthy eating goals.
When you’re feeling relaxed and grateful for how far you’ve come on your health journey, you’re much more likely to make good choices.
So, what makes you feel grateful?
Answering this simple question can shift your mood in seconds. Feeling thankful for what you already have creates a positive effect on your life. When you focus on your strengths and blessings you’re less likely to dwell on perceived shortcomings.
It’s easy to take for granted a happy marriage, nurturing friendships, and good health. You may even tend to overlook having a good career and roof over your head, but these aspects of life sustain you every day.
Taking a moment to acknowledge and appreciate what’s good in your life does wonders for your well-being.
People who practice gratitude may be more optimistic and feel better. In fact, studies have shown that a regular gratitude practice can improve your happiness by as much as 25 percent. And keeping a gratitude journal for as little as three weeks can result in better sleep and more energy. Happiness leads to healthiness since the production of feel-good hormones like serotonin supports all bodily functions, including digestion.
You can start your own gratitude practice with something as simple as saying an affirmation each day.
Try this simple one: I’m grateful for my health and the health of my loved ones.
What will you do to express your gratitude? If you already have a practice, what’s your favorite way to say “thank you”?
Simple Ways to Develop a Gratitude Practice
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Count your blessings
- Write a thank-you note
Alicia Hyatte is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Family Wellness Advocate, Health Educator, and a Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. She helps parents to build healthier habits and routines to better balance home and work life. Her website, WholeFamilyLiving.com, provides motivation and simple strategies for handling everyday challenges like managing stress, being active, eating healthier, losing weight, and more. Alicia is a beach lover and gardening geek in her spare time.