What is your focus in these last few days before Thanksgiving? Have you set the menu for the meal and prepared your grocery list? Are your thoughts dominated by arrangements you need to make for guests, or perhaps the calorie overload that comes with the traditional feast?
Or perhaps you are one who thinks of where you will settle for your post-turkey nap?
All of these demands on your attention are significantly contributing to your stress level. This hinders your digestion, affects your heart and lung function, and makes you susceptible to viral illness.
How Can You Turn It Around?
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. Are you curious?
It’s the simple practice of expressing gratitude. It is good for them and for you!
I’m sure that as a child, your parents taught you to say “thank you.” Have you continued to say it to those around you? If not, it’s a practice you could consider bringing back to your life.
Beyond expressing your gratitude to others personally, I recommend that you dust off a journal or notebook and set It beside your bed. Before turning off the light each night, or first thing in the morning, write down 2-3 things for which you are grateful.
It can be related to events of the day, work, memories of past events, observations, or relationships.
Many Beneficial Effects
Such a simple practice can help to improve your sleep, reduce your pain level, reduce your stress, and increase your energy to name but a few of the health benefits.
In the area of emotions and personality, studies have shown that a gratitude practice increases your optimism and self-esteem. It can also make you more relaxed and resilient as it shifts your memories into a happier perspective.
You might be surprised to learn how a gratitude practice can benefit your career. Focusing grateful thoughts on your work can increase your productivity and improve your decision making. If you regularly network with other professionals, incorporating more gratitude can 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, and a greater impression of kindness. Well worth the effort, don’t you think?
But There’s More
Expressing gratitude can go further than simply saying “thank you.” Express that gratitude in the presence of others and let the person you are thanking know what it meant to you. In this way, you also build them up in the eyes of others.
In these days of email and text, writing a personal note to someone can mean a great deal. Or you can live your gratitude by blessing people you don’t know personally, via random acts of kindness. Any small act of kindness will make someone’s day, whether they are a stranger or family member.
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 gathered. Perhaps even encourage the practice to extend beyond the month of November. Why limit the benefits to just a part of the year?
I, for one, am very thankful for all of you who read my articles on a regular basis. I trust that what you read helps you to pursue wellness in your life and the lives of those close to you.
Be blessed this Thanksgiving and through the end of the year!