Increasing Your Gratitude

Having gratitude is important for living a happy and healthy life. Talking about the things in your life that you are grateful for is one of the healthiest parts of celebrating the holidays. According to psychologists, practicing gratitude can help you gain both happiness and health. However, it is a shame that most Americans don't talk about what they are grateful for on an everyday basis. While it is great to give thanks once a year, doing it more often is even more beneficial.

Studies have shown that being conscious of your gratitude has positive effects on your health. One way to increase the amount of time you spend focusing on what you are grateful for is to take a minute before every meal to consider how much work was put into preparing it.

When thinking about all of the work that went into your meal's creation, from planting seeds to harvesting and cooking, you will appreciate the nourishment that it provides.

The First Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving represents the first recorded feast in 1621 between the pilgrims and the Native Americans in Plymouth. It was attended by at least 50 pilgrims and 90 Indians, who walked for two days just to be at the feast. They ate food and played games for three days. Their meals consisted of venison, fish, and fowls.

This feast did not become an annual holiday until 1863. Instead, the feast that occurred in 1621 seems to have been an event on its own. The peace between pilgrims and the Native Americans did not last, and Thanksgiving is actually a controversial holiday for many people of Indian descent because of the reminder of ancestral pain.

Pilgrams and Native Americans lived together in peace for about a decade until thousands of new settlers came over to America after a plague cut the native population by more than half. The arrival of the settlers resulted in a fight for land and animosity.

Stay Thankful for Thanksgiving

While you may only be able to think of a few things to be thankful for, creating a great life requires you to work against negative thoughts and act in a positive way even when you don't want to. Evidence suggests that people can choose to practice gratitude, which helps increase happiness.

One way to show gratitude when life is not going right is to show thanks for things that may seem insignificant. This could be the passing smell of flowers or the taste of a nice dinner. Over time, you will find that you will be able to find gratitude easily in your everyday life.

Health Benefits

Showing thanks has been found to have health benefits, including:

  • Increasing pleasurable feelings and emotions
  • Improving the quality of your sleep
  • Increasing the probability that you will workout
  • Helps with your relationships
    Increases your competence at work

  • Reduces stress
  • Enhances sense of well-being
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Strategies to Build Gratitude

Your sense of gratitude can be built with practice. Here are ten ways to practice strengthening your ability to show thanks.

1. Write in a daily gratitude journal

Use a paper journal or an app on your phone to do this. People who keep a gratitude journal tend to exercise more and have fewer visits to the doctor than those who do not.

2. Write thank you letters

Getting into the habit of writing thank you letters can help you express your gratitude in addition to just feeling it.

3. Nonverbal actions

Give away smiles and hugs. They are free!

4. Be sincere, and choose your words wisely

Say "please" and "thank you" when you truly mean it. This will allow the recipient to really believe you when you say these words.

5. Focus on the well-being of other people

This will help decrease your unneeded anxieties. Cherish the kindness of other people so you're less likely to take friends for granted.

7. Don't compare yourself to others

Chances are, you don't really know what is going on in everyone else's life. You probably have a lot of things that the next person would be jealous of as well.

8. Make a nightly gratitude ritual

Each night before you go to bed, think about 3 things that you are happy about or thankful for from the previous day. Then think about 3 things that you can look forward to the next day. Even if these things are small, it can make a difference.

9. Spend money on activities rather than things

Activities will leave you with memories to last a lifetime while things will come and go.

Have an Attitude of Gratitude All Year

Your health and happiness depends on your current thoughts. Remember that each moment of every day is a chance to feel and show gratitude. Doing so will strengthen your relationships, make you happier, and improve your health.

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