What is your focus in these last few days before Thanksgiving? Are your thoughts dominated with a grocery list for the food you will prepare, the arrangements that must be made for guests, the seating arrangements or perhaps the calorie overload that comes with the traditional feast? Or perhaps your primary thought is where you will settle for your post-turkey nap?
All of these demands on your attention are significantly contributing to your stress level, which hinders your digestion, affects your cardiovascular and respiratory function, and makes you susceptible to viral illness.
There is a fairly simple practice that can improve your health, your relationships, your emotions, and your career … all in only 5 minutes a day. Curious?
It’s the simple practice of expressing gratitude.
I’m sure that as a child, your parents taught you to say “thank you.” Do you continue to say it to those around you? If not, there’s a starting place.
Beyond expressing your gratitude personally, I recommend that you dust off a journal or notebook and set it beside your bed. Before turning off the light each evening, write down 2-3 things for which you are grateful. It can be related to events of the day, work, memories of past events, relationships … you choose.
Such a simple practice can help to improve your sleep, reduce your pain level, increase your energy, and ultimately increase your longevity, to name but a few of the health benefits.
In the area of emotions and personality, a gratitude practice increases your optimism and self-esteem, makes you more relaxed and resilient, and shifts your memories into a happier perspective.
How would a gratitude practice benefit your career? You might be surprised. Focusing your grateful thoughts on your work can increase your productivity, improve your management and decision making, improve your networking and increase the number of goals you achieve.
I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that the social benefits of expressing gratitude include more friendships, deeper relationships, a greater impression of kindness, and healthier marriage. Well worth the effort, don’t you think?
In addition to your efforts to set a bountiful table this Thanksgiving, I would encourage you to incorporate expressions of gratitude among family and friends who are gathered. This would be a wonderful way to initiate this practice and plant the seeds of this practice in others’ lives.
I, for one, am very thankful for all of you who read my articles on a regular basis and who are pursuing greater wellness in your life and the lives of those close to you.
Be blessed this Thanksgiving!