5 Reasons to Practice an Attitude of Gratitude This Thanksgiving

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5 Reasons to Practice an Attitude of Gratitude This Thanksgiving


Authors of a 2010 report in the publication Psychiatry have defined gratitude as "the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself" and "a general state of thankfulness." This concept seems especially fitting for the Thanksgiving holiday, a day when many of us gather with family and take time to count our blessings.


What you may not realize is that practicing gratitude this Thanksgiving, or at any time of year for that matter, can provide you with numerous physical and mental benefits.  Here, learn about five reasons you may be practicing gratitude without even knowing it this Thanksgiving season.


Better Sleep


Scientists have actually found that gratitude may be linked to a better night's sleep.  In a 2009 study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, gratitude was found to be associated with improved sleep quality and duration.  Specifically, gratitude was linked to more positive thoughts before sleep, which explained its association with better sleep.  Ending your day with thoughts of what went well, instead of focusing on the negative, could help you to sleep more soundly. Take 60-90 seconds and create a mental list of the positive events that occurred throughout the day. How long does it take for you to notice a difference?


Improved Mood


Being grateful could lift your spirits.  Researchers for a 2003 edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology conducted three different studies on gratitude.  In two of the studies, participants were part of either a hassle group, a gratitude-listing group, or a neutral group, and they recorded their moods and behaviors either daily or weekly.  In the third study, patients with a neuromuscular condition participated in either a gratitude group or a control group. Compared to control groups, those in the gratitude groups in all three studies experienced improved well-being; specifically, they reported more positive moods.


Reduced Depression

Counting your blessings could even help to alleviate depression.  In a study in a 2012 edition of Cognition and Emotion, scientists conducted eight different studies and discovered that gratitude was linked to a reduction in symptoms of depression.  The study authors explained that positive emotions and positive reframing were found to explain the relationship between gratitude and depression.  This Thanksgiving, take the time to view things in a more positive light and to appreciate the good in your life, and you might find that you are feeling less blue. If you use the holiday to leverage a new outlook, you may be able to keep the good feelings flowing longer.

 


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Less Stress

Pausing to think about the things you're grateful for could provide you with some stress relief.  In a 2015 study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, participants in a gratitude group completed a gratitude diary and a grateful reflection four times weekly over the course of three weeks.  Stress levels were reduced, according to scores on the Perceived Stress Scale, in the gratitude group but not in a control group. If gratitude can help you lessen your daily stressors, won’t you consider a more grateful approach to your weekly challenges?


Physical Well-Being


Gratitude could keep you physically healthy.  Researchers for a 2013 study in Personality and Individual Differences found that gratitude was linked to better health, because those who had a grateful outlook had better psychological health and were more willing to seek healthcare.  Specifically, gratitude could improve your health by increasing feelings of well-being and thereby lowering blood pressure.  In a 2015 study in the Journal of Health Psychology, researchers compared a two-week gratitude intervention to a control group and found that the intervention led to heightened well-being and reduced blood pressure.


Lower blood pressure is just one of several benefits you could experience as a result of expressing gratitude this Thanksgiving.  As you sit around the dinner table enjoying your turkey and mashed potatoes, lead the family in a discussion of what you are grateful for, and you might end the meal feeling happier and less stressed.


About the author
: Brian Carroll is the CEO of Pivot Insurance and holds CLU & CPCU designations. He has been part of the life insurance industry for over 30 years. He is also an avid runner and has participated in many athletic endurance events. Brian established the anonymous life insurance quote process here at Pivot and takes pride in the caring and professional staff. You can reach Brian at 1-800-651-1953 or BCarroll@pivot.com.

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