Finding Thankfulness and Gratitude

This Thanksgiving, we hope you all have a wonderful holiday! That being said, this can be a difficult time of year for some people, specifically those with problematic family members. In stressful company, it can be difficult to find things to be thankful for.

However, regardless of the holiday, regardless of the company, being thankful is good for your health. According to research from John Hopkins Medicine, there is a direct link between a positive attitude and improved physical and mental health. But a positive attitude takes work!

A positive mindset is a choice. It can be easy to give into negative thoughts and react poorly to events and to our circumstances. But by willingly choosing to react positively and finding the silver lining, despite the situation, we can condition ourselves for the better. Research from the University of California Berkeley calls this “practicing gratitude.”

“Research suggests that gratitude may be associated with many benefits for individuals, including better physical and psychological health, increased happiness and life satisfaction, decreased materialism, and more.”

When we practice something, whether it’s a physical skill or a psychological outlook, we condition the neurological pathways of our brains. Every time we choose to be positive we are conditioning our brains to be happier. This makes it easier, and second nature, to find the good things in a situation. Or, at the very least, to not be as affected by the negatives.

The same goes for negative thoughts! If we continue allowing ourselves to focus on the negatives we will train our brains to seek that out! By resisting negative self talk, by seeking out the silver linings, by finding gratitude for what you do have in life you can improve your mental health. Just like physical exercise, it takes time, but it is a skill worth having!

We hope that your Thanksgiving is full of joy, warmth, good food, and meaningful social connection! Look for the good things in life and you’ll find them. Happy Thanksgiving!

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