Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to do something we should really be doing every day of the year: Thinking about, and expressing, what we're grateful for. And really, there's a whole host of reasons why we should make gratitude a daily practice — research has shown that being thankful confers a whole host of health benefits, from improved immune systems, to feelings of connectedness, even higher team morale.
If theres such a thing as a spiritual shortcut, it probably lies in those two magic words found in all human language: thank you. The ability to recognize the good things in life and express gratitude for them is the most direct path to happiness. Admittedly, research suggests everyone has an optimism set point. But think of that set point like flexibility; you may have an innate range of motion, but you can certainly practice stretching yourself within that range and strive to stay at your highest possible level of gratitude and joy. Heres how:
Practice joy » Since joy and gratitude are so closely linked, one of the ways to develop your capacity for gratitude is to expand your capacity for joy. The first step in rewiring your brain, thus making it more likely to recognize and embrace joy, is to train yourself to notice when youre happy, says Pam Lancaster, …
Grateful teens are happier, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association this year. Researchers also found that teens who are grateful — in the study, defined as having a positive outlook on life — are more well-behaved at school and more hopeful than their less-grateful peers.
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