Holiday Gratitude Can Last All Year
While being grateful is a common theme at this time of the year—as the holidays approach and people are thinking about spending time with family and loved ones—it’s important to keep in mind that there are numerous reasons to keep the sentiments of being thankful and grateful all year long alive.
Of course, we strive to maintain positivity at all times, but there are numerous reasons why focusing on and continuing to be grateful are beneficial on many levels for the human population. Expressing gratitude can help train our minds to think happy thoughts, and refocus our energy on the positive.
In the past 10 years or so, several studies have indicated and suggested a link between being grateful and having healthy relationships, increased feelings of satisfactions, and good health. These findings point to the quantitative benefits of developing, honing, and sustaining a grateful attitude.
Health benefits of certain actions are often on the forefront of our minds as we try to look and change or accept our behaviors. Feeling grateful has been shown to help improve sleep. People who are well-rested are more likely to have increased and sustained energy throughout the day, have better productivity at work, and have more positive thoughts. One way to continue to remain grateful year-round is to try to be conscious of your thoughts before you fall asleep, focusing in on what you are grateful for. Doing this can help sustain the feeling of gratitude we usually experience at during the holidays.
Being thankful—and expressing that thanks—can also be critical in developing an overall sense of personal satisfaction, which in turn can lead to increased productivity at work, at home, and in relationships. One way to maintain the sense of gratitude we can be flooded with during the Thanksgiving season is to keep a gratitude journal, in which you can record or reflect on the people, things, and places in your life that inspire gratitude in you.
Gratitude Helps Combat Stressors
Combating stressors in our lives can be difficult and is always challenging. We can sometimes feel defeated. However, gratitude can help in this area as well. Self-acceptance stems from dismissing negative thoughts and overall negativity and instead focusing on what is good—those things we are grateful for. Once we can change our attitudes and shift from negative to positive by using gratitude as a tool to make that change, our entire perceptions of the world will change.
It is not only in our awareness and cultivation of gratitude that we can experience positive side effects, but also in the expression of our thanks. So when someone does something even seemingly trivial like holding open a door for you, be sure to say thank you as doing so will likely make you feel good—as the person who appreciates what has been done for them—and will also make the person feel appreciated and more likely to want to help someone else.
And this time of year is a great time to start. While it may be easier to feel grateful when everyone else is also focused on a gratitude-based holiday, remember, you can sustain the sentiment all year long and, in so doing, constantly reap and perpetuate the benefits gratitude has on everyone around you.