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How Thanksgiving Can Make You A Happier Person

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday to celebrate the abundance and love in our lives. Yes, good food and a day off work are also things to be celebrated, but let this day remind us to be grateful.

Being grateful for what you have actually brings a feeling of satisfaction to your life and shortens your list of things you want or think you need.  It also makes you feel more forgiving and generous and have a better overall outlook on life.

Scientifically speaking, feelings of love, compassion and appreciation send dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone, through your body activating your brain’s pleasure centers. Not only does dopamine give you a strong sense of well-being and happiness, but it also opens up creativity and increases your ability to learn and remember things. Studies have shown that the more grateful a person is, the happier they are. 

Being grateful means that you are affirming the goodness in your life and by affirming something, you are actually attracting more of that energy your way. So why wouldn’t you want to practice gratitude?

Like anything though, gratitude comes with practice. When you’re frustrated and feel like complaining, it’s not easy to shift into gratitude mode. But, if you can force yourself to find something good in those situations eventually it will be easier. Even if you can’t think of a single thing, start with saying “I am grateful for… “ and allow the power of gratitude to work in you. The universe will shift your thoughts and feelings to align you with happiness and gratefulness.

Finding small pieces of joy in your daily routine will shift your perspective of your whole day, so allow yourself to find moments to be grateful. It can be anything: grateful for checking something off your to-do list, grateful for a nice cup of coffee in the morning or grateful for the extra 10 minutes of alone time you got in the car because traffic was worse than usual.

Here are 6 things you can do to cultivate gratitude:

  1. Make a promise to yourself to not complain or criticize for 21 days. Habits take about 21 days to break, so be mindful of when you feel the desire to complain and instead find something positive in the situation and say it to yourself or aloud. See how you feel after the 21 days. Hopefully you feel more content and gratitude comes easier.
  2. Begin each morning with writing down or saying aloud something you are grateful for. This will start your day off positively and you will start to notice a shift in your mood. Remembering to be grateful for what you have can reduce stress and anxiety throughout your day. Ending your day the same way, with a note of gratitude, can put you at ease for a good night’s sleep.
  3. Write thank you notes. We were all taught that it is polite to send a thank you card when someone gifts you something or does something nice. Essentially this is a “gratitude letter.” Write to someone why you are thankful for them and for whatever they may have given to you or done for you.
  4. Spend more time with positive people. The saying that “it will rub off on you” is true. Studies show that if you surround yourself with optimistic people, you will be more optimistic and cheerful.
  5. Have gratitude reminders. Turn something that you do each day, like brushing your teeth, into your gratitude reminder. For the few minutes everyday that you spend brushing your teeth, you can also be thinking about gratitude and what you are grateful for.
  6. Keep a gratitude journal. Make a habit of writing down things you are grateful for. When you are having a really hard day and struggling to stay grateful, you can open your journal and read all of the good things in your life. 
 

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