Some call it hunting season. Some dub this “snow season”. We know full well that we are entering thankful season. The holiday season is quickly approaching, and along with it, thousands of reminders as to why we should be grateful— for the people in our lives, for the things we have, for our health, and for so much more. This season, though, we’re encouraging you all to get into the habit of remembering things you’re grateful for, not just once a year, but once a day, year-round. Sounds like a lot to ask, right? Let us explain:
There are myriad health benefits to practicing gratitude. Here are just a few:
- Better self-esteem. Those who practice gratitude regularly are more likely to look on the positive side of things and feel good about themselves and where they are in life,
- Attracts more relationships. If you’re wondering how to make some new friends, thank people for the things they do. When people see that you are appreciative of their company, help, or actions, they are more likely to want to be around you (and most likely they embody the same values!). These healthy relationships are important for mental health, and sometimes even your physical health, too.
- Better psychological health, overall. Practicing gratitude helps you to cope with negative emotions much more readily than without that practice. In addition, being gracious will generally make you happier, reducing feelings of depression.
- Improved sleep quality. This is a big one. Several studies have shown that by regularly taking note of what you are thankful for by journaling about it just before you fall asleep can enhance your sleep quality and the duration of time you stay asleep. We all know how important good sleep is for all-around good health!
- Less stress. When you practice gratitude, taking note of things you are happy to have in your life, you begin to think more positively, even in times of adversity. Gratitude helps to overcome trauma and increases your mental and emotional strength, so that even when things get tough, you are better equipped to handle them with a positive mindset.
So we know that incorporating a regular practice of gratitude is good for us— now, how can we incorporate it into our everyday routines? The tried-and-true method of gratitude journaling is what we recommend. Find a journal that you like, and write in it every evening before bed. If every evening seems a bit ambitious at first, try a few nights a week and gradually work your way up. As you go about your day, try and take notice of new things that you are appreciative of— these don’t have to be extravagant things. You can be grateful for a phone call from your friend, or you can be grateful for a promotion at work. The important thing is noticing that there are so many things to be grateful for, and finding new things to appreciate daily. This time next year, you’ll have a book full of things you’re grateful for, and you can share the experience of your gratitude journey with those people you appreciate most next thankful season.