With November being the month we celebrate Thanksgiving, gratitude becomes an implicit theme in the days leading up to the holiday. So, it makes this time of year the perfect time to transform an annual ritual into a meaningful daily practice.
Practicing gratitude is more than simply saying “thank you” (which is typically a simple exhibition of good manners), it’s a deeper acknowledgement of our blessings - big and small - and it can have wide reaching benefits for overall health and happiness.
Experts at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, cite recent studies finding those who practice gratitude have:
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
- Higher levels of positive emotions;
- More joy, optimism, and happiness;
- More generosity and compassion;
- Fewer feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Are you ready to reap these rewards and more? Take our November Holistic Living Challenge and share your experience for a chance to win great prizes!
Here are the details:
Challenge: Express gratitude daily.
- Commit. Kick-off your month by sitting down and writing out 5-10 things you’re grateful for. At the end of your list, write “I have so much to be grateful for and this month I will recognize those things every day.” Hang your statement somewhere as a reminder.
- Keep a journal. Writing down what you’re grateful for every day is a great way to make it a habit. No worries if you’re no poet or don’t feel like writing a page or a paragraph every day. Even just writing one word is powerful and puts your heart and head in a place of deeper gratitude. Consider involving your whole family by making it a dinner-time practice to go around the table and ask what everyone is thankful for each day. Then, your journal is not only a way to record your blessings, it’s also a beautiful reminder of your lives together and you can look back on your entries to remember all the good times.
- Download the app. Seriously! There’s an app to help and it’s called “Unstuck.” Check it out here.
- Feel it. Beyond just writing it down, feel the gratitude. Whatever you’ve chosen to be thankful for that day, think about it and let yourself be truly happy about it for a while.
- Share it. Vocalizing your gratitude to others not only increases the psychological and biological benefits for you, it also tends to have a domino effect - inspiring others to be more thankful, as well. Want to see it in action? Grab a tissue and prepare to smile while watching “The Science of Happiness: And Experiment in Gratitude” from SoulPancake.
- Share your ideas, goals, and experience for a chance to win great prizes!
What to know more about the science and practice of gratitude? Please see the resources recommended by the Greater Good Science Center:
- Gratitude definition page: The What, Why, and How of gratitude
- And take this gratitude quiz to learn how grateful you are!