There is something remarkable about this time of year. Beyond the food, football, or even time with family, as we gather together and vocally express thanks for the blessings in our lives, it seems to bring a great sense of happiness, peace, and contentment. As I sat down to write this post and figure out what makes being grateful…well, so great…I was pleased (and even a little surprised) to find that this is much more than some abstract or ethereal concept; it has been backed by science! A number of recent studies in what has been termed “positive psychology” have linked gratitude to incredible physical, emotional, social, and psychological benefits. The key to gaining these benefits, though, is to make gratitude a regular practice. While it’s great to spend a day focusing on our blessings, if we make a habit of regularly recognizing our blessings and demonstrating sincere gratitude for them, we can seriously improve our quality of life.
Following is a list of what I found to be some of the most intriguing benefits of gratitude and a few ingredients for incorporating gratitude into our everyday “diet” to realize them, even after the leftover turkey and pie are long gone.