Thanksgiving is a time where many of us acknowledge everything we have been blessed with. The busyness of our daily lives can distract us from realizing what we are grateful for until we sit down at the Thanksgiving table.
What would happen if we lived every day as if it were Thanksgiving by sharing our appreciation and recognizing what we have been given?
Over the years, studies have shown that being grateful positively affects our well-being and relationships with others. Findings reveal that giving thanks contributes to the following:
- Better sleep
- Reduced stress
- Healthier eating
- More satisfaction with life
- Fewer common health problems
- Improved interpersonal relationships
Here are three ways you can express gratitude beyond the Thanksgiving table.
1. Be intentional. When you plan to spend time with a friend, coworker, employee or family member, minimize distractions around you and turn your phone on silent. Show others that you value and appreciate them by being engaged in conversation. It’s important that you make every moment with others truly count by being present and listening intently. In return, they will treat you with the same respect and admiration you showed them.
Another aspect of intentionality is being aware of how you spend your time. You can be purposeful by figuring out your goals, priorities and everything you want to accomplish. This will help you to make sure that your time does not go to waste. Rather, doing things you enjoy will make you feel accomplished, fulfilled and grateful.
2. Acknowledge others. Your actions and words can make a difference in building and developing healthy relationships with others. When people express appreciation, others perceive that they can form a positive relationship and it causes them to invest in the relationship and connect with the other person, according to a study at the University of New South Wales.
Every time you say “Thank You” make sure you mean it, and it’s not just a reaction or overused expression. Be specific with what you are thanking people for and make it a point to tell those around you why you are grateful for them. Try to be the first person to recognize when someone does something well and praise them for it.
3. Keep a journal. Reflecting on what you are thankful for can transform your outlook on life. One way to do so is by keeping a physical journal or using an app on your phone to write down everything you are grateful for — even the small things. When you take the time to write or type each item out, it helps you reflect on your life and appreciate things you may not have considered before. Being positive can help you to be more optimistic about your life overall.
Studies have shown that keeping a journal of gratitude decreases materialism, increases generosity and leads to less envy. It can also increase one’s happiness with the world around them. Start by writing down one thing a day that you are grateful for. Then, at the end of the year, read through it to see everything you have been blessed with.
Living a life of gratitude will help change your perspective and how you view your circumstances. Too often, people get bogged down with negativity and develop a dismal view of the world. Always seek out ways to be grateful despite your circumstances.
As you sit down at the Thanksgiving table this holiday season, make a point to not just be grateful that day. Try to find moments to be thankful for what you have been given every day of the year.