Flashback: Thanksgiving Day 1997. Your family is sitting down around the table, waiting for that savory moment when Thanksgiving Dinner is served. You catch yourself drooling at the thought of that first bite of tender turkey passing through your mouth and elating your taste buds. Then your mom decides we’re going to try something different this year. Before anyone takes a bite, all (17) of us have to go around the table and say what we are thankful for. Shit. Really mom? Ok fine.
I’m thankful for this smorgasbord of handcrafted deliciousness carefully laid out in front of me. I’m thankful for the people that are sitting around this table. I’m thankful for football. I’m thankful for my good health. Hm. Maybe I have more to be thankful for than I realized… Ok, I see what ya did there, mom.
Mom’s everywhere have been forcing us in to the practice of gratitude since we can remember and ya know what? We’re thankful for that, too.
There’s a reason why your mom is so smart for teaching you the practice of gratitude. Sure, its good manners to say “thank you” but its also been proven time and time again that gratitude has some substantial benefits.
Studies have shown that regularly practicing gratitude (i.e. keeping a gratitude journal or stating what you are thankful for everyday) is associated with numerous wellness benefits including:
- Increased hours of sleep
- Increased feeling of well-being
- Increased likelihood of developing relationships
- Increased immune function
- Increased self esteem
- Positive emotions
- Elevated compassion and kindness (boy, couldn’t we use more of that in this world..)
A study out of Eastern Washington University showed that people who were diagnosed with depression showed 50% less gratitude than those who are not depressed.
Another study from UC Davis showed that expressing gratitude in a weekly journal resulted in a 25% increase in happiness and exercise. Those results increased when participants journaled about gratitude daily. Ha! So that’s the key for motivation to go to the gym. Who knew?
To some up the benefits in a word: BLISS. In my own words, “gratitude precedes happiness”, and it turns out that I am correct. By now you know that for the month of November, we’re doing a gratitude challenge where you identify three things that you are grateful for everyday.
We’ve had lots of comments and tweets and some of the first things we heard from you were: family, friends and health. Brilliant. There is no doubt that we should be thankful for the people in our lives and the healthy body that that affords us the right to experience life with them. Now that we’ve got the big guys out of the way, I want to challenge you to be more specific.
For example, the start of fall brings all us ‘basic’ girls to life. We just cant get enough of that apple-picking-pumpkin spice-cinnamon-scent-goodness. And were definitely flocking to Insta and Facebook to show off our love for fall. That is all gratitude. Betcha didn’t even realize that you were actively practicing it with that pic of your sweet little one in a flannel stumbling through the apple orchard. We are thankful for the change in season, thankful for the comfort that fall brings. Thankful for warm chats by the fire, thankful for a sweet glass of apple cider, and oh-so-thankful for the beauty of changing leaves.
Step number 2 in our Mind Over Matter Morning Routine is practicing gratitude. Grab it here for a better start to your morning.