Lifestyle , ,

Let us give thanks

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.

Read more about the benefits of expressing gratitude here and here.

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
  • Meditate
  • Pray
  • 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?


  • shaunala

    Love this! It's easy to take all the amazing things in life for granted, but there is so much to be grateful for. I know these last few weeks, it has been a struggle to see the positive in our country's current political climate, but appreciating the little things and recognizing the people you care about have been essential to my personal well-being. I agree that we should practice gratitude exercises year-round. I think I'll make that a new year's resolution this year. Thanks and happy holidays!

  • ariagray

    Thanks Courtney for this great reminder! It's so easy to be super busy and complain about that and not stop to appreciate how much we all have to be grateful for. I think often in my busy schedule as a student I tell myself that I will have time to stop and do "normal" things like appreciating life later on, but this is a good reminder that it always important. And it is also a good self-care tip also!