Healthy Living

8 Tips for Giving Thanks on a Daily Basis

Gratitude is front and foremost on my mind today—very likely because this Monday marks the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, the very first that I’ll be spending married (my husband is American).

However, like many who plan to share meals and make new memories with friends, family, and loved ones this holiday, I’m mindful of how I practice gratitude and how it translates into my life on a daily basis, not just on Thanksgiving.

Here are eight ways to show thanks and feel the effects of gratefulness on a regular basis…

1. Mindful Gratitude Strengthens Relationships

Sure, when we say the words “thank you” we are making an outward acknowledgement of our gratitude for a door held open, for the offer of a ride home in the rain, and for a cup of coffee made for us in the morning. But how much weight do those habitual words have? Expressing gratitude with a deeper understanding of what exactly we’re thankful for—the people who take the action—creates stronger relationship bonds when others know someone else appreciates them. In fact, a study out of University of California, Berkeley, links expressing gratitude with stronger connections to others and suggests that showing outward thanks supports our existing relationships, and increases our satisfaction with those external bonds.


2. Gratitude Strengthens the Heart

A 1995 research study published in the American Journal of Cardiology links positive emotions (i.e., optimism and gratefulness) with improved cardiovascular health—specifically a lower risk of developing heart-related diseases (i.e., congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease). The study solidified that positive appreciation supported heart health, reduced hypertension, and lowered premature death in cardiovascular patients.

3. Positivity Supports Coping Skills

Many religions might deem gratitude a virtue. However, mental health professionals from the University of California Davis claim that optimistic people are better able to cope with negative events compared with their pessimistic counterparts. For instance, those who approach life from the positive side tend to view tragedy as temporary and manageable—while the negative sect are prone to becoming overwhelmed by tragic news, letting it pervade every aspect of their lives.

 

4. Gratefulness Prevents Depression

If you experience bouts of the blues, a series of studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, recommend taking time out daily to reflect on what you are thankful for. Findings showed that practicing mindful thanks built positivity, strengthened self-esteem, positively impacted mental wellbeing while reducing symptoms of depression.

 

5. Appreciation Translates to Self-Love

A University of California Davis psychology professor has made a direct correlation between being grateful and making healthier life choices. For instance, in his study of 17,000 young adults, he found that grateful individuals were less likely to engage in risky behaviors (i.e., smoke, do drugs, consume fatty diets, conduct sedentary lifestyles, abuse alcohol, risky sex, or overlook wearing sun protection). Appreciative individuals were also prone to engaging in healthy activities and exercising regularly.


6. Thankfulness Will Put You To Sleep

If you having difficulty sleeping, a research report from Psychology Today suggests putting your gratitude into words before your head hits the pillow. The study monitored the sleeping patterns of participants and found that those who wrote down what they’re grateful for in a journal before falling asleep, enjoyed a night of longer, uninterrupted, and better quality shut eye.

 

7. Gratefulness Supports Success

Here’s a lesson for the little ones—make gratitude a cool new attitude by focusing on the good in your life and you’ll experience success. Researchers at Berkley found that grateful adolescents (between 12- to 14-years-old) were more engaged in schoolwork, community, and extracurricular activities, scored higher on academic tests, and brought home better grades then more entitled, material driven kids in the same age group.


8. Thankfulness: The Prescription for Better Immunity

A study conducted by the University of Utah prescribes a positive life approach for stronger immune function and health.  The study, which monitored the health and stress levels of legal students, found those who were more optimistic had better resistance to colds and viruses (and produced higher levels of immune-boosting blood cells) vs. those pessimistic legal eagles.

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