2020 has been a difficult year for all of us.  Not only has the world been in turmoil, but many of us have struggled with personal trials as well.  Continuous weight seems to have been placed on our shoulders and it can be hard to maneuver through the stress and anxiety.  It’s been hard, and many who may have never experienced it before are feeling depressed.

Thankfully (pun not intended) Thanksgiving is coming up this week.  Taking time to show gratitude has been proven to provide a myriad of benefits.  It improves social, mental, and even physical health.  It’s also a habit-forming skill, meaning that the more you put forth an effort to feel gratitude, the more you will become a naturally thankful person.  This week we want to discuss the power of gratitude and encourage each of you to prioritize sharing gratitude this week.

Social Health

Sharing gratitude, particularly for those around you, will allow you to build up firmer relationships.  People want to be around positive people.  Recognizing the good in life and in others, even when it may seem hard to find, creates an atmosphere of compassion and empathy that draws people in.  In fact, studies have shown that being grateful actually enhances empathy and reduces aggression in the person expressing gratitude.  Not only will people appreciate you more, you will also be able to connect better with others.

Mental Health

Changing your perspective is one of the best ways to change feelings and behavior.  Particularly in this crazy year, taking time to be grateful is a great way to treat feelings of anxiety and depression.  Gratitude improves self-esteem, further treating the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Physical Health

Perhaps surprisingly, gratitude can have a positive effect on your physical health as well.  Due to the positive impact it has on relieving stress, it can actually help to improve blood pressure.  It also can improve your sleep routine, which in turn can improve your health in many other ways.  Studies have also shown that people who are grateful are more likely to exercise regularly.  So, even if it doesn’t necessarily magically make you more fit, it can motivate you to create habits that will improve your health.

Making it a Habit

The most common way people practice showing gratitude is by writing in a gratitude journal.  This can be done in a variety of ways, but often individuals will write a daily list of things they are grateful for.  This can be a great way to train your mind to focus on the blessings in life.  Take time this week to consider things you’re grateful for.  Consider ways you can do this more regularly throughout the year as well.  And, of course, happy Thanksgiving!