By: Courtney Luecking, MPH, MS, RD Doctoral Candidate: Nutrition
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is an opportunity to take time away from routines, gather with family and friends, and literally give thanks. The history buffs can check their knowledge about the origin of Thanksgiving, but I would like to concentrate on the science behind the power of gratitude.
Check out this beautiful infographic for a more in depth summary, but the short of the long is that expressing gratitude has numerous physical and mental health benefits. Studies have linked gratitude with improved sleep, increased energy levels, and increased self-esteem. One trial also found those who kept a gratitude journal for 10 weeks were 25% happier than the group who did not keep a journal.
With all these benefits, why limit it to one day a year? Instead, why not find some space for gratitude all year long?
Here are some ideas to intentionally acknowledge what or who you are grateful for throughout the year:
- Snap a daily photo. Get inspiration from 365grateful, a stunning display of all the wonderful – big and small – things in the world
- Keep a journal or list – paper, word document, or note on a phone or tablet
- Try an app
- Write a thank you note – for a purpose or just because
- Jar of happiness
- Count your blessings
Let us give thanks not only this Thanksgiving holiday but more frequently in the upcoming year. After all, don’t we have much to be thankful for?