Gratitude: How to Give Thanks This Holiday Season and All Year Round

It’s finally the month of November which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Most people think of turkey, pumpkin pie, and mashed potatoes this time of year, but they often neglect the true meaning of the holiday. While the food is certainly important, it is just as important to take some time to give thanks during this holiday season. However, you don’t have to wait for turkey day to roll around to start expressing gratitude. In fact, it can be beneficial to your overall happiness and well-being to give thanks regularly. Research has shown a direct correlation between expressing gratitude and increased happiness. The people who practiced thanksgiving and gratitude daily, or even weekly, continuously scored higher on overall happiness tests. In preparation for the biggest day of the year to give thanks, here are 5 simple ways to start showing your gratitude now:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal- Everyday, in the morning and the evening; write down three things you’re grateful for. It can be as simple as “my family” or it can be a long description of something that is currently bringing you joy. When you’re having a bad day, it’s a great reminder of everything you have going for you!
  2. Practice random acts of kindness each day- From smiling at a passing stranger to paying for someone’s order behind you at the drive-thru, these small actions make a huge difference. It sounds cliché, but it really works. Random, yet simple, acts of kindness benefit both sides and you will feel better while helping others.
  3. Write a letter to a friend- A hand-written letter to a friend, old or new, to tell them how much they mean to you and how they have positively impacted your life is a great way to express gratitude. If you slow down and take the time to write down your feelings, it can be much more meaningful than a text or email. Handwritten letters are a dying form so they can carry more significance.
  4. Volunteer- Serving others through volunteer work is a wonderful way to remind yourself to be thankful. Volunteering in your community can be an eye opening experience. It will allow you to actively show your thankfulness to your community by giving back, while appreciating all that you have.
  5. Compliment yourself- Often times we forget to show self-love and thanks. Recognize all the amazing things about yourself and how complex you are as a human being. Thank your body, your mind and your soul for all of the wonderful things it does for you!

All of these are easy ways to incorporate more gratitude in your life. Giving thanks is something extremely simple, yet extremely rewarding. This holiday season, give thanks for the blessings in your life and remember to give thanks throughout the year.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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