November 25, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

A number of prior posts here (and here and here) on this page have addressed a common theme in building relationships--that of gratitude.  It's timely, then, that a recent online article in the Daily Health Post cited a 2015 study wherein researchers determined that saying "thank you" while truly feeling grateful had physical and emotional benefits well beyond what you might imagine. In fact, they surmised, being thankful "literally rewires your brain to be happier." The article explains the methodology as follows:

"One third of the subjects in the study were asked to keep a daily journal of things that happened during the week for which they were grateful.... At the end of the 10-week study, each group was asked to record how they felt physically and generally about life. The gratitude group reported feeling more optimistic and positive about their lives than the other groups. In addition, the gratitude group was more physically active and reported fewer visits to a doctor than those who wrote only about their negative experiences."

Research by others concluded that "focusing on the positive and feeling grateful can improve your sleep quality and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. (Link here) Furthermore, levels of gratitude correlate to better moods and less fatigue and inflammation, reducing the risk of heart failure, even for those who are susceptible" (Link here)

Granted, the value of gratitude isn't really about "us," but about recognizing those who "do for us." But it's nice to know it's a feeling that seems to increase happiness all the way around.  So as you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal this year, keep that in mind.  And no matter your circumstances, always try to find something to be thankful for.  If you look hard enough, you might find there's more than you know.  And the process of looking (and thanking) will make you happy!

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