Every Thanksgiving we are reminded ad infinitum to give thanks, to be grateful, to show gratitude…until it gets annoying. Equally annoying is the entire “gratitude fad” – the constant reminders all year long to show, think and express gratitude.
But, here’s the thing.
It not only makes the recipients of your gratitude feel great, studies show that it strengthens your immune system, helps you sleep better, reduces stress and depression, and opens the door to more relationships.
So, I am piling onto the gratitude fad with this blog. :) It is Thanksgiving week after all.
There was a wonderful article in the WSJ recently about a Jewish woman who was kept in hiding by total strangers during WWII in Greece. The strangers risked their lives and most definitely saved the woman’s life.
She has spent her recent years writing a book about her experiences, and just the act of writing sparked such strong feelings of gratitude that her well-being improved markedly.
The article quotes psychologists who remind us that we can’t just sit around and feel thankful to get the full benefits of gratitude. They suggest the following:
1. Keep a gratitude journal with detailed entries.
2. Write sincere thank you notes and emails.
3. Verbally express and show gratitude – smile and say thank you more often, open doors for people, and just say “hi.”
4. Avoid ingrates. If the people around you don’t feel gratitude, you probably won’t either. Gratitude is contagious, and so is the lack of it.
5. Remember the bad. Remembering difficult times helps you appreciate the good times.
As somebody who practices all of the above, I can say from experience that it really does work.
Thank you everyone for supporting JVM and for reading my blogs (about thanking everyone). :)
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