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Thanksgiving is about more than wrangling the turkey out of the oven and politely chatting with your aunts and uncles. In fact, the true reason for the holiday is in the name—giving thanks. While it’s great to be thankful for the many blessings you have one day a year, the practice of gratitude is essential for the remaining 364 days as well.

What Is Gratitude?

Gratitude is a way of life centered around focusing on the present and appreciating the things you have been given, instead of envying others and fantasizing about what you don’t have. By consciously acknowledging all that you have, you will redirect your mind to focus on the positive. Over time, the associated positive emotions you experience can counter and reduce negative feelings of anxiety, depression and anger.

How Does Gratitude Affect You?

A 2003 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology tracked 200 undergraduate college students who kept journals to record either annoyances or positive events. After 10 weeks, students who tracked their gratitude felt more positive about their lives and more optimistic about the future. They also were significantly more likely to help those around them or offer emotional support to their friends.

Simple Ways to Be More Grateful 

  • Keep a small gratitude journal to track the little things that make your days run more smoothly or feel more special. Remembering that your spouse called during your lunch break or your barista remembered your coffee drink when they saw you in line can put a smile on your face at the end of the day.
  • Spend some moments every day to notice and observe nature appreciating the small things that intersect to make our world beautiful. It sounds silly, but watching squirrels go about their day or a ladybug sitting on a leaf can remind you of all the wonder in the world.
  • Make an effort to do a small act of kindness every week for someone other than yourself. Anything from bringing in coffee for your secretary to purchasing a book your friend was eyeing can brighten someone else’s day, and brighten yours in return.

Improve Your Mental Health this Holiday Season 

If you want to learn more techniques for making gratitude a part of your daily life, contact CBT Baltimore to get on the right track at 443-470-9815.