The month of November tends to be a time that we talk about being thankful. Cute wooden signs and burlap wall hangings remind us to "give thanks" or confirm that the owner is "grateful, thankful, blessed." On Thanksgiving day most of us make a point of having everyone at the table say what they're grateful for before the meal starts. Unfortunately it doesn't often seem that these seasonal trends make an impact on our day-to-day life. What would happen if you actually took the month of November to focus on building a long term habit of gratitude into your daily life? Here are five ways this simple switch could transform your health:
- 1Improves Sleep. According to a study done by University of Manchester in England, participants that practiced gratitude experienced faster and more satisfying sleep. Taking a few minutes before bed to write down what you're thankful for will help calm your mind and bring peace to your thoughts.
- 2Strengthens Relationships. Positivity and a grateful heart can bring people up and help them to enjoy your company as well as their own lives more fully. Relationships that are built around complaining and gossip are prone to deteriorating onto unnecessary drama. Additionally, a 2010 study published in the journal Personal Relationships discovered that people who focus on gratitude toward their partner experience more emotional closeness and romantic satisfaction.
- 3Protects Mental Health. Dwelling on the problems in your life dramatically increases your stress as well as your risk for various medical conditions including heart disease, depression and obesity. Creating a daily habit of giving thanks may help reduce your stress as well as your risk of depression and anxiety.
- 4Motivates Toward Your Goals. A study by the University of California reported that motivation to exercise and pursue goals was one of the additional benefits of gratitude. If it can improve your sleep and bring closeness in your relationships then it isn't surprising that it also help you make it to the gym more regularly.
- 6Increase Work Satisfaction. Regularly writing thank you notes or listing things that you are thankful for can increase your overall sense of satisfaction with your life and work. If you're feeling drained, sometimes the best way to snap back into a healthy mental state is by taking your mind off yourself. Try sitting down and writing a quick note to someone who has made a difference to you. This simple act of kindness and meditating on the positive aspects of your life may be just what you need to get back to your day with renewed vigor and creativity.
Start building a habit of daily gratitude and make this Thanksgiving season the one changes your life for the long term. You may find that this simple change can revolutionize your thoughts and improve all the dimensions of wellness in your life.