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The Science of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and now is a perfect time to reflect on the meaning of this holiday – giving thanks. Isn’t that a wonderful idea? Place thankfulness at the top of your list, front of mind. The upcoming national holiday is a chance for all of us to take a moment, with family, friends and ourselves, and think about everything we are thankful for this year. This concept is important, both on this special day and in our everyday careers and lives. Did you know there is a science behind gratitude?

Those who express gratitude on a regular basis are said to feel more positive emotions, sleep better and express a deeper sense of compassion and kindness to those around them. When you consider what you are grateful for, what comes to mind? Is it a grand occasion or something that happened to you on the way to work? Research shows that those who regularly practice gratitude increase their well-being, improve their state-of-mind, lower their blood pressure, sleep longer and feel a heightened sense of joy and optimism. So, do not concern yourself with waiting for a major life-change to occur before you feel gratitude, but instead take the time to look around and appreciate the everyday wonders.

New to the idea of practicing gratitude daily? An easy way to maintain your level of gratitude and improve your daily outlook is by keeping a journal. This is a great way to track your thoughts and add to your gratitude list as the day passes. Remember, you can write down anything you are grateful for, no matter how small. Did you receive a free cup of coffee today? Write it down! As you write down these small occurrences, you will notice you have more and more to be grateful for while at school, work or in your personal life.

-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist