While many take the time to reflect on everything they’re grateful for on Thanksgiving, experts say practicing gratitude every day can have a significant impact on mental health.
There is scientific evidence that cultivating an attitude of gratitude throughout the year can help people cope with everyday challenges.
“We always talk about breaking our bad habits, but a good habit can start at any time, so Thanksgiving is a great time to start,” said Dr. Jennifer Peltzer-Jones, assistant medical director of emergency behavioral sciences. for Henry Ford Health. System. “If we’re a little out of sync with the idea of being grateful, it’s good to start now. “
To practice gratitude is to change our daily habits.
“When we think about the good things in our life, we feel good. Thus, we create a habit of feeling good by reflecting on our positive experiences and the good that is in our life, ”said Peltzer-Jones.
Changing habits and paying more attention to the things we’re grateful for has been shown to do more than just improve mental health, according to the expert.
“They found some things that have a medical correlation – so positive psychology and gratitude actually correlate with less inflammation. There are some very biophysical things that happen when we feel good.
“It’s not just this idea (that) we’ll be feeling good, and feeling good, it’s good – there’s actually a chemical reaction going on that really hits us on a physical level,” added Peltzer- Jones.
Related: Adopting Good Habits: Why It’s Important to Control Unhealthy Thoughts
There are easy ways to start bringing gratitude into our lives.
“One of the exercises that is an easy first exercise for relieving anxiety is to take a certain point at each time of the day and think of three different things… for which you are grateful (that day)”, Peltzer-Jones said. “And it doesn’t have to be big, monumental things. I think this is where people can get a little confused or a little overwhelmed by this. It can be something as simple as, “I’m so thankful for my new fuzzy sheets. “
Dr Peltzer-Jones says this practice is ideal for working in a family setting, especially during lunchtime or family time with the kids. If kids participate, the expert says it’s perfectly okay for kids to be grateful for the same things for days on end – don’t feel like you have to be creative. It can be about enjoying even the simplest parts of your day.
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