Give Thanks and Live Longer

This is the time of year when many of us feast with our loved ones and focus on thankfulness while we digest. Yes, giving thanks is a widespread annual tradition, but did you know it also has scientifically-proven positive side effects? Knowing that we’re happier and actually healthier when we express gratitude, it makes sense to actively pursue this more than once a year. And there’s an easy trick to doing it: building habits.

It is impossible for your brain to feel anger at the same time as gratitude. So if you catch yourself in a particularly resentful or stressed state, make that your trigger to list three things you’re thankful for, despite what you might be currently feeling. And nothing reinforces positivity like spreading it around. Getting into the routine of sharing three things you’re grateful for every day at a collective meal or on social media will prompt others to do the same (even if it’s just subconsciously).

If you’re ever having trouble finding something to be grateful for, look around for the simplest things we take for granted. For one, if you’re reading this, you’re alive. That’s a good start. Is the temperature controlled where you are? Can you flip a switch for instant light? Do you have virtually limitless access to clean drinking water? Once you take the time to appreciate the little things, you can build up to more complex expressions of gratitude. And every time you do this, you’re erasing stress–so it’s always beneficial. Jotting this thankfulness down in a journal before bed is proven to promote deeper sleep and even relieve chronic pain. It’s good for your heart, both figuratively and literally.

For a more extreme exercise in gratitude, check out the video below to see the kind people over at Soul Pancake conducting a fun experiment about gratitude’s effect on the happiness of some unsuspecting test subjects:

Hopefully this blog post prompts you add a little more gratitude into your life. Thank you so much for reading!