Why you should practice thankfulness year-round

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Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash
Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

November is upon us, which means it is officially the season of giving thanks – although the season of giving never goes out of style. At times it may seem like everything is falling apart, but there is usually always something good that can be taken from any situation. Being thankful is seeing the good in difficult situations. And, while being a thankful person does not happen overnight, practicing thankfulness is definitely worth it.

Surprisingly, those who are thankful take care of themselves better by exercising and going to the doctor more regularly. Psychology Today cites a study that showed that those who were thankful felt healthier those who did not practice thankfulness. Being thankful has many other benefits, such as improved self-esteem, decreased aggression and increased mental strength.

One way to be more grateful is to simply appreciate everything. Whether you do this throughout the day or at the end of the day, try to routinely reflect on what is around you or has happened to you, and think how grateful you are for the experience or thing. You must actively seek to be grateful and not just wait to be grateful.

For example, you could write down five things you are grateful for at the end of each day. Develop this habit of appreciation for even the negative or challenging times of your life. Writing down what you’re grateful for each day could even improve how well you sleep, according to a study cited by Psychology Today.

What you are thankful for could even be little things, such as the cafeteria having cookies at lunch or the weather being nice. There is always something to be grateful for if you look hard enough. For inspiration, Kid President lists 25 things he is thankful for here.

Another way to be more thankful is to help others. Research shows that helping someone else or volunteering your time can  improve your own well-being, which gives you the ability to be more grateful. Consider being a tutor at a local school or bringing canned food to a local food pantry. Even just offering to give someone a ride could improve your well-being.

Additionally, it might be beneficial to write a letter of gratitude or express your gratitude to a loved one. A Harvard study showed that writing letters of gratitude to others increased happiness for its participants overall, which could positively impact a person’s ability to be grateful.

You could even write or verbally express gratitude for yourself. A small statement of gratitude to yourself, like “Thank you for studying so hard for that exam,” could be more life-changing than you’d think.

Another way to actively practice being grateful is to read or listen to quotes or speakers about thankfulness. The Ted Talk website has a playlist of videos about gratitude. If you are religious, several websites list Bible verses about thankfulness..

Practicing thankfulness takes time but can be beneficial to your health and could inspire others to be thankful as well. Everyone can benefit from thankfulness, so give thankfulness a try during this holiday season.

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