Giving Thanks

Reviewed May 7, 2015

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Summary

People who are actively thankful usually have more energy and a better quality of life.

Many of us don’t think much about our good fortune until November. While Thanksgiving is an annual event, gratitude for the blessings in your life can be a year-round affair.

Whether it’s a special relationship, a meaningful experience or hope for the future, we all have much to be grateful for. Experts agree that a positive outlook promotes mental and physical well-being, so counting those blessings could improve your health, increase your happiness and even help you live longer. The Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness at the University of California-Davis has found that people who are actively thankful usually have more energy and a better quality of life.

Throw the calendar away and make every day one of thanksgiving. Here are some ways to remember your blessings.

Keep it simple

Maybe you didn’t win the lottery, but you probably caught a glimpse of a gorgeous sunset. Sometimes we miss the little blessings while waiting for big events. The perfect cup of coffee or an unexpected phone call from an old friend are the little things that get us through the week. Don’t take the small, daily joys for granted.

Make a list

Try keeping a “gratitude journal”—a running tally of all the things you’re thankful for. If you keep your list handy, you may find that it lifts your spirits when you’re feeling low. As an experiment, jot down 3 blessings each day for 1 month. Review your list every morning over breakfast, and see how your mood improves. Researchers at UC Davis report that people who keep gratitude journals tend to be healthier, more optimistic, and more likely to achieve personal goals.

Share with others

Once you’ve started the list, start sharing your blessings with others. Whether you’re thankful for your book collection or your weekly basketball game, find a way to bring this joy into someone else’s life. Select a worthy organization or service group and commit to volunteering on a regular basis. If you’re grateful for family and friends, consider working at a local nursing home. If you’re thankful for a comfortable home, call your local branch of Habitat for Humanity.

Teach a child

Your gifts enrich your life, so take the time to share those talents with a child. Whether you play a musical instrument or build websites, your talent is a teaching opportunity. If it’s been a while since you spent time with a child, broaden your social horizons one step at a time. Look out for ways to share your knowledge with the younger generation. Your local YMCA, after-school program or public library will provide information about local opportunities.

Send “no reason” cards

Many of us send out greeting cards each December. You feel thankful for your family and friends, but may not have time to write long, heartfelt letters. Instead of getting caught in the holiday crunch, let family and friends know how much you love them—by sending cards at another time of year. If August is less hectic than December, then start a tradition of sending Labor Day letters. The sincerity of the feeling is more important than the date on the postmark.

By Lauren Greenwood de Beer
Source: University of California-Davis, Web MD, Kindling the Science of Gratitude (conference)

Summary

People who are actively thankful usually have more energy and a better quality of life.

Many of us don’t think much about our good fortune until November. While Thanksgiving is an annual event, gratitude for the blessings in your life can be a year-round affair.

Whether it’s a special relationship, a meaningful experience or hope for the future, we all have much to be grateful for. Experts agree that a positive outlook promotes mental and physical well-being, so counting those blessings could improve your health, increase your happiness and even help you live longer. The Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness at the University of California-Davis has found that people who are actively thankful usually have more energy and a better quality of life.

Throw the calendar away and make every day one of thanksgiving. Here are some ways to remember your blessings.

Keep it simple

Maybe you didn’t win the lottery, but you probably caught a glimpse of a gorgeous sunset. Sometimes we miss the little blessings while waiting for big events. The perfect cup of coffee or an unexpected phone call from an old friend are the little things that get us through the week. Don’t take the small, daily joys for granted.

Make a list

Try keeping a “gratitude journal”—a running tally of all the things you’re thankful for. If you keep your list handy, you may find that it lifts your spirits when you’re feeling low. As an experiment, jot down 3 blessings each day for 1 month. Review your list every morning over breakfast, and see how your mood improves. Researchers at UC Davis report that people who keep gratitude journals tend to be healthier, more optimistic, and more likely to achieve personal goals.

Share with others

Once you’ve started the list, start sharing your blessings with others. Whether you’re thankful for your book collection or your weekly basketball game, find a way to bring this joy into someone else’s life. Select a worthy organization or service group and commit to volunteering on a regular basis. If you’re grateful for family and friends, consider working at a local nursing home. If you’re thankful for a comfortable home, call your local branch of Habitat for Humanity.

Teach a child

Your gifts enrich your life, so take the time to share those talents with a child. Whether you play a musical instrument or build websites, your talent is a teaching opportunity. If it’s been a while since you spent time with a child, broaden your social horizons one step at a time. Look out for ways to share your knowledge with the younger generation. Your local YMCA, after-school program or public library will provide information about local opportunities.

Send “no reason” cards

Many of us send out greeting cards each December. You feel thankful for your family and friends, but may not have time to write long, heartfelt letters. Instead of getting caught in the holiday crunch, let family and friends know how much you love them—by sending cards at another time of year. If August is less hectic than December, then start a tradition of sending Labor Day letters. The sincerity of the feeling is more important than the date on the postmark.

By Lauren Greenwood de Beer
Source: University of California-Davis, Web MD, Kindling the Science of Gratitude (conference)

Summary

People who are actively thankful usually have more energy and a better quality of life.

Many of us don’t think much about our good fortune until November. While Thanksgiving is an annual event, gratitude for the blessings in your life can be a year-round affair.

Whether it’s a special relationship, a meaningful experience or hope for the future, we all have much to be grateful for. Experts agree that a positive outlook promotes mental and physical well-being, so counting those blessings could improve your health, increase your happiness and even help you live longer. The Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness at the University of California-Davis has found that people who are actively thankful usually have more energy and a better quality of life.

Throw the calendar away and make every day one of thanksgiving. Here are some ways to remember your blessings.

Keep it simple

Maybe you didn’t win the lottery, but you probably caught a glimpse of a gorgeous sunset. Sometimes we miss the little blessings while waiting for big events. The perfect cup of coffee or an unexpected phone call from an old friend are the little things that get us through the week. Don’t take the small, daily joys for granted.

Make a list

Try keeping a “gratitude journal”—a running tally of all the things you’re thankful for. If you keep your list handy, you may find that it lifts your spirits when you’re feeling low. As an experiment, jot down 3 blessings each day for 1 month. Review your list every morning over breakfast, and see how your mood improves. Researchers at UC Davis report that people who keep gratitude journals tend to be healthier, more optimistic, and more likely to achieve personal goals.

Share with others

Once you’ve started the list, start sharing your blessings with others. Whether you’re thankful for your book collection or your weekly basketball game, find a way to bring this joy into someone else’s life. Select a worthy organization or service group and commit to volunteering on a regular basis. If you’re grateful for family and friends, consider working at a local nursing home. If you’re thankful for a comfortable home, call your local branch of Habitat for Humanity.

Teach a child

Your gifts enrich your life, so take the time to share those talents with a child. Whether you play a musical instrument or build websites, your talent is a teaching opportunity. If it’s been a while since you spent time with a child, broaden your social horizons one step at a time. Look out for ways to share your knowledge with the younger generation. Your local YMCA, after-school program or public library will provide information about local opportunities.

Send “no reason” cards

Many of us send out greeting cards each December. You feel thankful for your family and friends, but may not have time to write long, heartfelt letters. Instead of getting caught in the holiday crunch, let family and friends know how much you love them—by sending cards at another time of year. If August is less hectic than December, then start a tradition of sending Labor Day letters. The sincerity of the feeling is more important than the date on the postmark.

By Lauren Greenwood de Beer
Source: University of California-Davis, Web MD, Kindling the Science of Gratitude (conference)

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