With Thanksgiving a week away, it is a perfect time to pause for a moment and think about all that you are grateful for in life. In our materialistic, instant gratification, modern world, we often forget to be thankful for everything that we have in our daily lives. We have become so focused on our wants and needs that we miss out on what is really important in our life, and it takes a toll on our health as well. There are many benefits when we express gratitude. It is mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy to focus on what we are grateful for each and every day.
Most people who practice the act of gratitude on a daily basis are happier and healthier than the average person. It is the simple fact that they focus on the positives in their lives, the things that are going right, and the things that make them happy. By showing gratitude, you are expressing appreciation, love, respect, kindness, and in turn, it brings you warmth, hope, and the feeling of great accomplishments. Think of Karma; what goes around comes around. If you are grateful and shower others with gratitude, it will come back to you in return. Thus, making obstacles and setbacks more manageable to overcome, and life happier and healthier.
Whether you express your gratitude out loud to yourself or to others, write it down, or simply think or meditate about it. The simple act of acknowledging the things that you are grateful for has many, scientifically proven, health benefits. Here are some benefits of gratitude:
The more you think about and express gratitude, the better you feel. It is a little addicting in that manner. It goes along with the power of positive thinking. The more you practice it, the more you feel uplifted, inspired, and happy. This in turn, often leads you to taking better care of yourself and your overall physical, mental, and emotional health. When things seem to be not going well for you, pause and think about what is good in your situation, your surroundings, your life. When you feel like you are not getting what you want or need, think about what it is that you do have and be thankful for the little things that are going well in your life. The more you focus on what you are grateful for, the more you will find that you will get what you need to succeed. It might not be what you thought initially, but a different way of looking at the same situation to get you the results that will lead to happiness in the long run.
If you are not already in the habit of practicing being grateful, take this next week to start writing a few things down each day that you are grateful for and share some of them next week with your friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers for Thanksgiving. Keep it up during the following month, even if it is just one thing every day that you are feel gratitude toward and see how you feel by New Years.
Even in dark times, there is always something to be grateful for in your life. A simple ‘Thank you’ or a hug goes a long way to help make someone else’s day a little brighter. Share your appreciation, your gratitude, and see how the benefits help both you and those around you.
I hope that you all have a very wonderful Thanksgiving holiday next week. Appreciate the small things and express your gratitude.
Courtney Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland, Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.