The Thanksgiving holiday is approaching, and that means we’re entering a season charged with brisk temperatures, crowded grocery store lines, and pumpkin spice everything. While this time of year lends beauty—with the trees’ foliage arrayed in spectacular colors—there also comes a busyness. The days get shorter and our to-do list gets longer. In our frenzied rush, we tend to neglect the most important things that fill our lives. Counting our blessings is not only a positive habit to form, but it also can improve our health.
Researchers have found a connection between gratitude and wellbeing. A study, published in 2003, revealed results suggesting that those who consciously focus on blessings have emotional and interpersonal benefits. When we are thankful for the good things that satiates our days, our minds and bodies respond.
How does gratitude make me feel better?
Counting your blessings sets you free from toxic emotions. Instead of allowing negativity to bombard your mind, you’re redirecting your thoughts into a positive vein. By dwelling on the good things that enrich your life, you are adjusting your mindset, preventing the negative energy to consume your day. Subsequently, your mood improves and your mind is at peace.
Cultivating a life of gratitude has also been proven to enhance your sleep. Because counting your blessings is linked to channeling positive thoughts, this carries over to bedtime, leaving those in the gratitude group peaceful, and thus, inducing sleep. A study, published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, reveals that those who choose to embrace thanksgiving reported getting more sleep, spending less time awake before falling asleep, and feeling more refreshed in the morning.
Focusing on the goodness in your life also has a beneficial effect on your digestion. According to the American Psychological Association, mental strain affects digestion and even how quickly food moves through the body. High stress levels negatively impact the digestive functions. An article, published by UC Davis Health, reveals that gratitude is related to 23 percent lower levels of stress hormones. By magnifying the positive and eliminating toxic thoughts, the microbiome can stabilize, improving digestion.
On average, it takes roughly two months for a new habit to become automatic. So here are some tips to help you remember to count your blessings on a consistent basis.
- Keep a blessings journal. Daily log the positive factors that have filled your day. Having things written down will also serve as a reminder when challenging times arise. It would be beneficial to review the good things that have flooded your life, so negativity won’t take root.
- At bedtime, mentally list the good elements that are present in your life. Dwell on good memories, healthy relationships, and positive interactions that have made you the person you are today.
- Use visual reminders. When life gets intense, it’s easy to forget to be thankful. Placing Post-it notes in prominent areas, such as on the mirror, the desktop monitor, and the refrigerator, is an easy way to prompt awareness of being grateful.