As we enter this holiday week, our thoughts are mostly on food, traveling, the logistics of traveling with kids, family, avoiding political fights, food, and pie. Well, you can tell where my thoughts lie anyway. We have much to be thankful for, and those thoughts enter our mind as well, as they should. But how much importance do we give them? Does giving thanks usurp eating food on Thanksgiving?
We say thank you a lot — to the grocery store cashier, to the librarian your daughter talked to for ten minutes straight, to the restaurant server, to colleagues, to the babysitter; the list goes on. We are polite people with good manners, and we are true in these expressions of gratitude. But how far does our thanks go? Do we tell those who are closest to us “thank you” for all the little things they do that mean so much? Do we take the time to be thoughtful in our thanks? Are we specific and offer examples? Do we make ourselves vulnerable enough to admit that others help us in so many ways? I challenge you to think about these questions during this holiday week and then pass out sincere thanks to those you love and rely on. In return, you will reap several benefits. According to Psychology Today, there are seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitude:
- Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that gratitude not only impacts new relationships but helps to secure and advance current relationships as well.
- Gratitude improves physical health. Not surprising, giving thanks is good for the heart.
- Gratitude improves psychological health. Expressing gratitude helps to increase your level of happiness and reduce toxic emotions.
- Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. This goes beyond just implying that thankful people are nicer. This means that thankful people choose to take a different perspective when faced with negativity.
- Grateful people sleep better. Yes, please!
- Gratitude improves self-esteem. While giving thanks may make you feel vulnerable at first, this regular practice reduces social comparisons, thus increasing one’s own worth.
- Gratitude increases mental strength. According to numerous studies, gratitude reduces stress, helps to overcome trauma, and plays a major role in building resilience.
As you can see, showing our gratitude to others not only makes them feel good, loved, and valued, it also increases our own well-being. This upcoming holiday is the perfect opportunity to stretch and exercise your thanksgiving skills.
Thank you, readers. Your support, love, and camaraderie help me to navigate this thing called motherhood with joy, humor, and compassion. Happy Thanksgiving!