This episode will be published the day before Thanksgiving. Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving day is historically a time set aside to give thanks for the blessings in our lives, like our family, friends, and provision for our needs. We don’t need to wait for a holiday to give thanks, though. Given the difficult year many of us have experienced, this holiday is a good reminder of how important it is to give thanks every day.
Give thanks every day, not just on Thanksgiving
Giving thanks and feeling grateful each day is important. And it’s good for us. Our mental and physical health benefits from us being thankful for all that we have. During these challenging times, if you start to feel sad or frustrated, remember that you can turn your day around simply by choosing to be grateful.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
~ William Arthur Ward, writer
5 ways being thankful is good for you (per studies cited in 5 Reasons Giving Thanks is Good for You):
- Counting blessings boosts your health. Research showed that grateful people had less depression and stress, lower blood pressure, more energy, and greater optimism.
- Slow down the aging clock. Studies have shown that in older adults, a daily practice of gratitude even slowed down some of the effects of neurodegeneration that often occurs as we age.
- Put the brakes on stress. Cortisol is often called the “stress hormone,” and when our bodies produce too much, it can deplete the immune system and raise blood sugar levels. A study conducted at the Institute of HeartMath Research Center in California found that positive emotions like appreciation significantly lowered levels of cortisol.
- Being thankful helps you bond. Research (by U.S. psychologists Sara Algoe and Baldwin Way) indicates that gratitude can also lead to better relationships. The explanation may be connected to increased production of oxytocin, sometimes called the “bonding hormone” because it fosters calm and security in relationships.
- Gratefulness = good for the heart and waistline? According to (some) research, people with high blood pressure who actively express thankfulness “can achieve up to a 10 percent reduction in systolic blood pressure and decrease their dietary fat intake by up to 20 percent.”
We’ve talked in the past about the positive effects gratitude can have on our life, our health, and more. Check out TPW167 (Gratitude & Productivity); TPW270 (Gratitude); and TPW311 (our conversation with Autumn McKay about Practicing Gratitude)
Some thoughts others have had about the importance of giving thanks:
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” ~ H.A. Ironside
“Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” ~ Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Put thankfulness into practice starting today:
- Make a habit of giving thanks for the good in your life-big and small, opportunities, provision, etc. Be present and be intentional about looking for things to be thankful for. Be grateful for green lights or convenient parking spaces when you’re in a hurry, sunny clear skies on a cold day or a cool breeze on a hot day, a sale on an item you need for yourself or your household, and (for sure!) your health.
- Create a mealtime ritual with those you share a home with of each you sharing something he or she is grateful for. (Many families do something like this at Thanksgiving dinner, which is a great place to start, but don’t let it end there.) Develop a culture of expressed gratitude in your household or in your workplace.
“Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.” ~ Gertrude Stein
- Remember to say thank you to the people in your life–both those who are a big part of your life and those who cross your path only fleetingly. Whenever you think of being thankful for someone (or for something someone’s done for you), say it out loud. Say it in person when you can, and look them in the eye when you say it. Maybe even revive the old practice of sending thank-you notes.
“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” ~ Ralph Marston
- As I’ve recommended before, start–or add to–your own gratitude journal. Each evening, write down 3 things you’re thankful for.
I want to say thank you:
- Lisa, for her consistent good help
- Mike, for the music he created for the show, and for his diligent work in editing each episode
- The women in The Productive Woman Community for supporting and encouraging me and each other
- You for listening
So much has happened, this year in particular. There is much to worry about, fear, or to be anxious or angry about. Bad things happen and people do bad things. But as one writer reminds us:
“What is also true is that there are many good people in the world who are brave and compassionate and committed to making the world a better one. What is also true is that each of us has the power to be one of them. Yet we cannot harness this power when we expend our energy focusing on what is wrong, laying blame and perpetuating the same lower order thought patterns that have created the problems to begin with.”
What do you think?
What are you thankful for today? Who can you say thank you to?
Resources and Links
- 5 Reasons Why Giving Thanks is Good for You
- Giving thanks can make you happier – Harvard Health
- Giving Thanks: 31 Inspiring Quotes About Thankfulness | Inc.com
- The Power Of Giving Thanks: Why Gratitude Is Not Just For Good Times, But For All Times
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