What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Thanksgiving? Is it a basted turkey fresh out of the oven or a pile of mashed potatoes smothered in gravy?
As the holidays roll around we tend to get excited about the modern traditions attached to them. Thanksgiving means coming together and indulging in a feast for many of us. It’s also the time of year we take a brief moment to reflect on what we’re grateful for. Some of us have participated in that obligatory, awkward, “let’s all go around the table and say what we’re grateful for” tradition.
But there’s no reason you should only take one time of year to express gratitude. In fact, there are numerous reasons, and science backing, that says you should express gratitude often, daily even.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. is an expert in the science of positive psychology. Currently, a psychology professor at UC Davis, Emmons is the founding editor of The Journal of Positive Psychology and has over 200 written publications about gratitude. His work is featured on forums such as The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, NPR and PBS.
Based on extensive research and studies Emmons says that people who consistently practice gratitude benefit from improving their physical, psychological, and social health. According to Emmons being more grateful can actually lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, make you more alert, and help you become more compassionate and outgoing. It also further develops your sense of self-worth and your relationships with others. These are only a few of the long list of benefits.
And the benefits of gracious lifestyle stretch beyond personal gain. An article on Forbes.com titled, “An Attitude Of Gratitude Reaps Big Rewards” talks about how the practice of gratitude will help your professional career.
From an entry level employee, up the ladder to a CEO, having a mindset of gratitude and cultivating it throughout the workplace will strengthen the fundamentals of your work ethic and culture.
Micheal Kurland, CEO of the successful industry marketing company Branded Group and author of the mentioned article says, “To express our gratitude, we continually reinvest in our team because we know they are the lifeblood of our organization. When employees see that you genuinely care about them and their well-being, they will go the distance for your business.”
Whether you’re trying to de-stress, find more meaning in your life, or become a better leader gratitude is a great place to start. So how can you become a more grateful person? It is something that requires diligence and practice.
Luckily, rather thankfully, there’s an abundance of resources that teach us how to become more gracious. One prevalent tip says a good place to start is with the keeping of a gratitude journal. The act of simply starting or ending your day by writing a short list of what you are grateful for is enough to start a positive change in your brain patterns. As easy as it sounds, the key here is consistency.
For more inspiration watch the Ted Talk, “Want to be happy? Be grateful, “ by David Stein-Rast. Stein-Rast, monk and interfaith scholar shares inspiring ways to find gratitude in the ordinary day to day tasks. He helps you to see things with a deeper understanding and appreciation.
A tangible read is always a great tool to have. Gift yourself or a loved one with any of these books to develop some daily habits:
“ The Little Book of Gratitude” – Robert Emmons
“ Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life” – M.J. Ryan
“ Thank and Grow Rich” – Pam grout
This Thanksgiving fill up on more than food. Make a pact with yourself to cultivate some new and positive changes in your life. So you can have your turkey and eat it too.
Featured image credit:
- Woman on Capistrano Beach: Photo courtesy of Nick Ng. | Used With Permission