Giving thanks is an intentional act — and can lead to some incredible outcomes.
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As the name suggests, Thanksgiving implies a time where people give thanks — at least in theory.
But maybe it just reminds you of turkey or the dread of having to travel during the holidays.
Rather, incorporating regular gratitude practices into your lifestyle can provide a significant boost to your mental and physical health.
(And it might be more productive to be gracious on your own time, rather than as you’re arguing with relatives at the dinner table.)
Here are 7 ways gratitude can improve your health:
One study from 2013 found that people who engaged in gratitude practices reported making healthier choices in their lives — such as eating well, avoiding excess drinking, and socializing with friends.
Several studies have found that gratitude can tamp down anxiety, as it leads to a “more compassionate relationship with the self.” But it might not be effective for everyone.
Gratitude fosters a sense of social support, which authors of a 2007 study note can protect people against stress and depression.
Overall wellbeing is associated with emotional health, and practicing gratitude has been shown to increase empathy and give people stability when it comes to managing their feelings.
Whatever you’re looking to improve on, getting in the right headspace is an important first step. A 2017 study found that gratitude can help cultivate positive emotions that can keep you motivated.
Mental wellbeing can have a big effect on sleep, and one study from 2008 found that people who expressed more gratitude got higher quality shut-eye.
Life can get tough, and practicing regular thanksgiving in the form of a gratitude journal or letter-writing can be a consistent way to remind yourself of the good things you have.
Click here for a brief guide on how to start practicing gratitude.