Why you should give thanks all year long


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Showing gratitude all year round can improve your health and happiness.

Thanksgiving is the one day a year where millions of people take a step back from their busy lives. They gather with loved ones and show appreciation for them. Before enjoying festive foods, they go around the table and say things they are grateful for. Instead of having only one day set aside to show gratitude, why can’t it be all year round?

History Behind Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving was in 1621 by the Pilgrims to celebrate and thank the Indians who taught them how to harvest corn. Since then, it was held numerous other times to celebrate different accomplishments. It didn’t become an official national holiday until 1863 by Abraham Lincoln. The original purpose of Thanksgiving was more religious and cultural, but over the years it’s meaning changed.

Giving Thanks

Why does being thankful have to only last for one day a year? Studies by Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino conducted a research that proved a couple extra words of thanks to a coworker can improve their work ethic. Showing gratitude doesn’t just benefit others, but can have major positive impacts in your life as well.

Another study done by two researchers, Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough proved that thinking about the positive throughout the day can positively impact your mindset. In contrast, someone who only focuses on the anger, frustration, and sadness would only feel worse. In their study, they found five psychologically proven reasons to why giving thanks is actually good for you. It could slow down your aging process, decrease depression, lower stress levels, allow you to form better relationships, and can even help you lose weight.

Appreciate the small things

Expressing gratitude more regularly can help others appreciate the small details in life that they may usually be overlooked. Psychologically and physiological, giving thanks and having more gratitude can improve the quality of life, happiness and health. According to Emmons and McCullough, grateful people have less depression and stress, higher optimism, lower blood pressure, and more energy. It is proven that people with greater optimism tend to workout and go to the gym more often as well.

Psychologist Sara Algoe and Baldwin Way researched that gratitude can lead to forming better relationships with people. It produces more of the “bonding hormone” that allows more calmness and security in a relationship.

Emmons says, ” Make a commitment to write down at least three things you’re grateful for each day for 30 days. Make each one as specific as possible. There’s value in the details, it will shift your reality.” Starting your morning with three things you are grateful for, and three things you look forward to in the future can improve your attitude for the rest of the day. At night, reflecting on your day with another three things, can really help you find the beauty in something you didn’t see before.