How being thankful can increase your happiness
Saying “thank you” is not just something that showcases how well your mother taught you manners. Research shows that expressing thanks and appreciation can increase your happiness and the mood of the person you are thanking. But it doesn’t just do that – it creates resilience to help you cope with stress.
“Feeling gratitude causes an increase in the production of serotonin which not only causes a sense of well-being, but also decreases the chronic inflammation caused by stress hormones. Thankfulness even improves blood flow to the heart and decreases hypertension and heart failure,” said Rachel Brown, Prisma Health medical director of health and wellness.
If thankfulness doesn’t come naturally to you, Dr. Brown offered these ideas to help you express how thankful you are this year.
- Send a note to someone. Be sure to include WHY you are thankful for that person.
- Find the positive in negative events. Even if it seems contrived, there is always something to be thankful for in every situation, even during a pandemic.
- Journal your positive feelings. Try writing down two to three specific things you are thankful for each night before going to sleep.
- Keep a list of what you are grateful for on your fridge or phone. Get specific. We are all thankful for life, family, friends, and so on, but what else really makes your day worthwhile?
- Ask others to tell you why they are thankful. It’s a double whammy for you as you get to be grateful for helping someone else be thankful too.
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