Thanksgiving is only a week away. The day where we congregate with loved ones and over turkey and sweet potatoes express what we are grateful for. For many of us, this is the only time when we really make it a point to reflect on the people and circumstances that enrich our lives. Yet years of research have shown that if we express gratitude daily, it can have a profoundly positive impact on our lives.
Robert Emmons from the Emmons Lab based in the University of California at Davis has been studying ways to cultivate gratitude daily and assess its impact on well-being. According to various studies from the lab, when people are more grateful, they
- Have a higher level of optimism about the upcoming week
- Are more likely to achieve their goals
- Sleep better
- Are more able to give emotional support to others
- Exercise more
Amazing stuff, so now what? How can you incorporate a gratitude practice in your life?
Book it: Make a daily date with some gratitude
If you are a slave to your calendar, make it work for your wellness by setting a daily gratitude appointment with yourself. When the bell goes off, mentally note something or someone you are grateful for.
Write it: Start a gratitude laundry list
Get it on paper, set up a word doc or get yourself a gratitude journal. If you write down a few things daily, you will start to accumulate an amazing list of positive vibes. This list of good-feeling thoughts will not only help you achieve the benefits noted above but will also help you place things into perspective when times are tough.
Say it: Let your gratitude be known and let others come along for the ride
Use Thanksgiving to launch a formal gratitude shout-out tradition with loved ones. Post Turkey Day, try doing attitude of gratitude shout outs prior to every dinner together. Single? Next time you have a girls’ or boys’ night out take some time to go around and do your shout-out then!
In summary, taking a little time each day to note what you are grateful can have a big impact on your health and wellness.
What are you grateful for?? Send me your attitude of gratitude shout-out!
Stacy Slawitsky turned to yoga and mindfulness as a means to relieve the stress of a demanding job at a Big 4 Accounting Firm. Her passion to share the benefits of these practices with others led her to start ZenConnect. She conducts stress management programs for companies throughout the Boston area.