“When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.”
—Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief
—Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief
First and foremost, developing a gratitude attitude can actually help make you healthier and happier. Recent research shows that gratefulness has been associated with better sleep, lower anxiety and depression, and heightened satisfaction with life. Plus, it helps you behave nicer toward others.
Consider the facts from a University of California, Davis /University of Miami study on gratitude. The study’s subjects were asked to keep a weekly journal of five things they were grateful for (such as an outing they enjoyed, a friend’s kindness, or something new they learned). When compared with the control group, those keeping the journal felt happier and had fewer physical issues.
Second, further benefits of gratitude were shown in a separate study of people with neuromuscular issues. The ones who kept a gratitude log reported feeling happier, and they also fell asleep more quickly. They slept longer and woke up feeling more refreshed, too!
Third, other research showed that a grateful attitude is associated with reduced levels of aggression. A thankful outlook can improve mental well-being and motivate people to express concern for others.
Here are some ways to celebrate National Thank-You Month:
- Keep a gratitude journal. Each week, jot down five specific reasons to give thanks—like anything going well in your life. (Note: If you have a way of viewing the world that is mean and downcast, you’re likely going to receive anger and frustration in return.)
- Try doing small, thoughtful things for your family. It doesn’t matter how dysfunctional your family might be, you can do small, thoughtful things. For instance, when you truly listen to them, you will begin to see subtle, positive reactions, according to research done at University of California, Riverside.
- Make a gratitude visit. Write a letter to a person who improved your life and remember to be specific. Bring it to them in person, and try not to tell him or her ahead of time what your visit is about. When you meet up with the person, read the letter slowly to the recipient. According to a study at University of Pennsylvania, you will start to feel happier yourself!
- Hang out with thankful people. When you socialize with others who are optimistic and appreciative, it can be contagious. These people tend to be energetic, have a happy attitude, and are comfortable trying new things.