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Why Include a Gratitude Practice in Your Day?

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As fall progresses in the United States, Thanksgiving gets closer and closer. And, of course, with the approach of the Thanksgiving holiday, more people are discussing thankfulness and being grateful. It’s a very common practice and one that may seem a little trite at this point. While you may be tempted to ignore the discussions of thankfulness as part of the noise at this time of year, it’s important to realize that adding even a brief gratitude practice into your day can carry benefits that improve your life far beyond just this fall season. Here are some serious reasons to consider adding some time for gratefulness into your daily activities:

Gratitude Changes Your Perspective

When you practice gratitude (even for 1-2 minutes a day), you consciously shift your thinking. Finding things that you are thankful for involves searching through your recent experiences and thinking about the people you associate with on a regular basis. This practice means that you are looking at your life on a wide scale and finding the people and the parts of your life that add joy to it. Searching for things to be grateful for means that you will end up reminding yourself of the good parts of your life. And, even if circumstances have felt difficult lately, a practice of thankfulness reminds you that there are always aspects of your life that add value to it.

Gratitude Promotes Better Physical and Mental Health

Research has shown that people who practice thankfulness test better on both measures of mental health and physical health. They tend to show less physiological signs of stress and handle stress better when they experience it. Other measures of physical health tend to show good results for those who prioritize gratefulness too. Additionally, research has found that people who regularly implement a gratefulness practice show a more optimistic demeanor than those who do not. This may be due to the fact that the practice of finding things or people you are thankful for can give you a shift in perspective. Whether you have any current mental or physical health struggles, instituting a gratitude practice can help to support your current level of health – and maybe even improve it.

Gratitude Reduces Anxiety

Over the years, scientists have conducted a large amount of research focusing on thankfulness and its benefits. One of the most interesting findings from recent research is the finding that the human brain cannot feel both anxious and grateful at the same time. This has powerful implications for anyone struggling under the weight of stress and anxiety. Given the events of the past 18 months, many people find themselves dealing with major anxiety or stress for the first time. If you’re discovering that you’re mired in a lot of stress or anxiety, starting a gratitude practice may be the move that you need to make. Even though it seems like a quick 5-minute routine, a gratefulness practice can impact your life significantly.

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