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Give Thanks Every Day
With Thanksgiving approaching, it’s time to put on our “thanking caps” and remember what we’re grateful for. But don’t save all that gratitude for one day! Frequently saying thanks can lead to feeling healthier and happier— even after eating a little too much stuffing.
No No, Thank You —The Takeaway
First thing’s first: showing gratitude is typically thought of as being thankful and wanting to show and return appreciation and kindness. Sure, many things can make someone happy— from friends and family to a warm bowl of soup— but pausing to appreciate these things is beneficial in more ways than one. One study found those who wrote down what they were grateful for each week exercised more, had fewer health complaints, and generally felt better about their lives . Gratitude has also been shown to instill feelings of hope, inspiration, and forgiveness . But it’s not just “me”— counting those blessings can also strengthen relationships with those we are thankful for.
Just beware, too much of a good thing can turn bad. It is possible to be too grateful, especially when thanking others. If someone does a simple favor, no need to thank him or her with a fancy dinner for two— unequal acts of love can lead to feelings of guilt or even resentment.
So as we give thanks this month, remember that gratitude shouldn’t only happen around the Turkey Day table. Make giving thanks a daily habit, whether it’s sending a thank-you note or simply pausing to say a quiet thanks!
There are many benefits of saying thanks, so make sure to practice gratitude daily.
- Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Emmons RA, McCullough ME. Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis CA. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2003 Freb; 84(2):377-89.⤴
- Gratitude and subjective well-being in early adolescence: examining gender differences. Froh JJ, Yurkewicz C, Kashdan TB. Hofstra University, Department of Psychology, Hempstead, NY. Journal of Adolescence, 2009 Jun;32(3):633-50.⤴
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I liked your comment about being able to accept an act of kindness gracefully, and not "out-doing" the person by reciprocating with something grander. Some people don't want to feel indebted. Like you said, it can bring feelings of guilt or even stress as to when the favor can be repaid. And kindness doesn't look for paybacks, just thankfulness!