Thanksgiving is just around the corner. As we celebrate, many of us will pause to share with others something for which we are thankful. While this simple tradition is a wonderful reminder of the reason for our celebration, it may also have lasting benefits for our mental health.
Drawing on her research with thousands of men and women, research psychologist and University of California professor of psychology, Sonja Lyubomirsky, provides a detailed plan to increase happiness in our own lives. Her book, The How of Happiness provides a guide to understanding what happiness is and what can be done to bring us closer to a happy life. One of the most powerful actions that we can take to improve our own happiness is to incorporate the practice of gratitude into our lives.
The Benefits of Being Thankful
It’s amazing to think that such a simple act can improve everything from our mood to our relationships, but the practice of gratitude has an enormous impact on our outlook and our actions. It helps us to consider both the good and the bad in difficult situations. It shows us the gifts that we have, making us more satisfied with everything from our homes to our jobs to our relationships. It also reduces our need for wanting more than what we have. With so many benefits, incorporating a simple gratitude practice into your life may be the biggest action you can take to improve your happiness, mental health and even physical health.
How to Cultivate More Gratitude in Your Life
The wonderful news is that you don’t have to take complicated or time consuming actions to incorporate gratitude practices into your life. Part II of this article will provide you with simple practices that require little investment of time or money. Taking a few mindful moments to incorporate one or more of these actions this holiday season will allow you to reap the benefits of seeing and appreciating the many gifts you receive each day.
About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.