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Attitude of gratitude: what are you thankful for?

Published in Behavioral Health Services, For the Health of It Author: Karen Freed, PsyD, LP

So many sad and tragic events have dominated the news in 2017 that it’s easy to forget about the good things in life. But Thanksgiving is the perfect time to step back and give thanks.

Studies show that feeling and expressing gratitude can improve our moods; improved mood results in improved physical and mental health, and overall improved functioning in our daily lives. When we show appreciation for others, you will make them happy, too. It’s a win-win situation.

People who experience the most positive effects of gratitude:

  • Feel a sense of abundance in their lives
  • Appreciate the contributions of others to their well-being
  • Recognize and enjoy life’s small pleasures
  • Acknowledge the importance of experiencing and expressing gratitude

An attitude of gratitude might not come naturally to you, but you can develop it. Acknowledging life’s positive moments — out loud or on paper — can help cultivate this trait. Take time today to make a list of what you are thankful for.  The list doesn’t need to be long. Many people start or end their day with writing two or three things on their gratitude list. When you are having a bad day, you can pull out that list and remind yourself of what’s really important in life — both big and small.