The so-called Season of Gratitude is behind us, but giving thanks shouldn’t happen just on the fourth Thursday of November. With Christmas parties among friends and family, gift exchanges, warm homes and hugs, and holiday cookies, December, too, is an easy time to be thankful.
Feelings of gratefulness have been proven to increase your happiness and your health. Make 2016 – all 366 days – your year of gratitude. Let it become a daily habit to consider consciously and give thanks for life’s blessings.
Giving thanks, even in small ways, can improve your quality of life. A study conducted a few years ago in the U.S. required participants to keep a daily gratitude journal. At the end of each day they wrote down a list of the things they were thankful for that day. One of the results was that most participants experienced better sleep. In a similar study, people who practiced daily gratitude felt fewer aches and pains.
The previously mentioned studies also proved that daily, even weekly, expressions of thankfulness reduced levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Researchers found that feelings of gratefulness help people deal with daily problems. As they reminded their participants, it’s important to note that gratitude is not a comparison – what you have versus what others don’t. Rather, gratitude is a recognition and appreciation of the positive aspects of your circumstance.
Gratitude is a virtue. That means it’s not sufficient just to say thanks, we have to do it, live it. Gratitude requires mutual respect and reverence. Our inherent gratefulness, what drives us to say “Thank you” when we receive a present we love or when someone holds the door for us, draws us to God. When we embrace significant blessings in our life, we embrace the love of God. Taking time to recognize this every day can strengthen our spiritual lives.
Get started today on your way to a happier and healthier year! Before you fall asleep tonight, write down the things for which you felt grateful today.