Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is not about presents; it is about togetherness. It is the perfect kick-off to start reflecting on our past and planning our future. What science has proven time and time again is that if we want a brighter, happier, and healthier 2017, giving thanks is best done on a daily basis, not an annual basis. It improves mental and physical health. Even when practiced by individuals, the impacts reach far into families and communities.
Here is a list of the SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN benefits of being a thanksgiving practitioner, meaning having a regular regimen around practicing gratitude, such as including it in your meditation, prayer, or journaling.
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
- Higher levels of positive emotions
- More joy, optimism, and happiness
- Acting with more generosity and compassion
- Feeling less lonely and isolated
- Better sleep (even for chronic pain sufferers)
- Less depression
- Stronger relationships, including marriages
- Improved self-esteem
- Higher likeliness to help others (aka pro-social behavior)
- Better handling of adversity / greater resilience
- Lower violence
- Fewer complaints
- Less sickness
- More exercise (an average of 1.5 hours more per week)
- Lower need for material possessions
- More energy, alertness, and enthusiasm
Below is a non-exhaustive list including some of the studies done on gratitude, validating that many have deemed gratitude worthy of great investments of time and money.
2006 study in the journal Psychological Science
2010 study in the journal Psychological Science