With Thanksgiving around the corner, it is a season to recognize and express gratitude for the people and things that make your life more meaningful. Gratitude is the recognition of a positive aspect of your life that comes from outside yourself.
Practicing gratitude has a plethora of positive outcomes concerning your mental, physical, and emotional health. Check out these four reasons to practice gratitude this season.
Gratitude improves your mood.
Regularly practicing gratitude can improve your life and way of thinking. Gratitude has been shown to reduce a multitude of negative emotions, ranging from jealousy and resentment to disappointment and worry. Don’t settle for being a pessimist when that is not pre-determined.
Gratitude fights depression/anxiety.
When your mind focuses on the things and people you are grateful for, your brain releases happy hormones like dopamine & serotonin. On top of that, you cannot think about your problems or feel fear or worry and practice gratitude at the same time. Gratitude is the antidote to fear.
Gratitude is the gateway to contentment.
I once saw a fortune cookie that said, “The pleasure of what we enjoy is lost by wanting more.” When we practice gratitude, we feel more content about what we have rather than wanting more.
Gratitude creates connection.
So many people have the tradition of sharing their appreciation with loved ones during the holiday season. Doing so brings people together in a unique way and allows a group to share those happy hormones and boost their impact. Sharing gratitude aloud can also increase feelings of love and connection.
So this holiday season, don’t skip the tradition of sharing thanks around your holiday table, even if you think it’s cheesy. It might just help you avoid the holiday blues.
--Kristin Benton, MA LPC