We celebrate Thanksgiving Day tomorrow with family, friends, feasting, and football.
Sometimes it seems that the essence of the day—thanksgiving—is lost among the turkeys, pumpkin pies, and NFL games. We could all use a little more thankfulness and gratitude in our lives. We live in unprecedented times—never before has there been an era of such prosperity, health, and longevity. And while each of us have our personal challenges, we also each have many things to be thankful for.
Did you know that being thankful and expressing gratitude is actually good for your health?
Yes, feeling gratitude provides significant benefits on our physical and psychological health, as well as our quality of life.
Here are five ways gratitude can improve our lives:
Being grateful improves your physical health
A 2003 study showed that people who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis suffered fewer aches and pains than other people. They were more likely to take care of their health by exercising more often and seeing their doctors for regular check-ups. They also felt better and had a better overall sense of well-being.
Being grateful improves your psychological health
Practicing gratitude can help you reduce and eliminate unhealthy emotions, such as envy, resentment, frustration, and regret. Dr. Robert A. Emmons, psychology professor at UC-Davis, is a leader in positive psychology, and has conducted extensive research into the psychological benefits of gratitude. He found that grateful people are as a whole happier and feel better about themselves.
Being grateful improves your sleep
According to a 2011 study, spending a few minutes writing in a gratitude journal every evening before bed can help you sleep better and longer. As inadequate sleep leaves you at risk for many different health conditions, as well as stress and low quality of life, getting better sleep is a great benefit of thankfulness.
Being grateful helps us be more empathetic and less aggressive
People who are more grateful are less likely to take revenge, and more likely to behave kindly, even when others aren’t being kind. In a 2012 study, grateful people also felt more sensitivity and empathy toward others.
Being grateful improves your relationships and self-esteem
Showing appreciation to people you meet can make them more likely to want to spend time with you and get to know you better. In addition a 2014 study of athletes found that gratitude increased their self-esteem. Gratitude also helps you disregard social comparisons and appreciate other people’s accomplishments instead of feeling resentful toward them.
At Park Crescent, we thankful for our incredible staff of nurses, CNAs, housekeeping, and kitchen staff; our wonderful residents who make up the Park Crescent family; and their family members who show us their devotion every single day.