Giving Thanks and Expressing Gratitude This Thanksgiving

Sports Woman's legs in running movement

Thanksgiving traditions abound: gathering with loved ones; eating turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie; and for many, taking time to give thanks. After all, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on the things in your life for which you are grateful.

There are two main aspects to feeling grateful. First, acknowledge the good things in your life. These may include your health, your home, your loved ones, or your job. Second, acknowledge that something or someone other than you had a hand in helping those good things come to be—at least in part. It might be other people, such as your family; nature or the world around you; or, if you’re a spiritual person, a higher power.

Expressing gratitude is more than just a nice gesture. Studies have found that it may have positive impacts on your well-being in a number of ways. It may help:

  • Strengthen your relationships. Thanking others for what they’ve done for you can bring you closer together. You recognize that you are connected to others. You rely on them and they also rely on you. Your well-being depends on other people in a very real way. That fosters a sense of unity, and it can help your relationships thrive.
  • Raise your spirits. Practicing gratitude can make you feel more joyful and happy. After all, when you express gratitude, you focus on the positives in your life. You remind yourself of what you love about your life. And you reflect on the goodness of others. That can help you have a more optimistic outlook on your life and your community.
  • Improve your health. Feeling grateful may even have positive effects on your health. Some studies suggest that it may help strengthen your immune system. It may also lower your blood pressure. It may help you feel less stressed and anxious. It may help you sleep better. And it may even help you better manage pain.

What’s more, being grateful is easy to practice and it won’t cost you anything. So this Thanksgiving, get serious about giving thanks. And even after Thanksgiving is over, make a habit to practice gratitude on a regular basis.