This coming Thursday, families and friends across the USA will be gathered at the dinner table to give thanks and celebrate the harvest festival of the Pilgrim Fathers. It is a time of deep gratitude; we reflect on our life, our family, and our everyday blessings. Yet surely, gratitude is something we should feel more than once a year? Unsurprisingly, there are multiple benefits from exercising a little daily gratitude. Take a look at some of them.

1. Mental health

If you shift your focus and energy from everything that’s wrong with your life to everything that is right with your life, it’s bound to affect your state of mind. Numerous studies conducted on teens and adults point to a significant difference in mental health. The more focus there is on gratitude, the lower the risk of depression and anxiety. Start small – try a daily list of three things you are grateful for today and you’ll find that a lot of that other stuff fades into the background a little.

Gratitude ThanksgivingPhoto credit: Healthy and Happy America

 2. Happiness

Is it that happier people are more grateful, or grateful people are happier? It’s a cycle that could be argued either way, but if gratitude improves your mental health, it follows that it improves your happiness too. Stopping to give pause and thought for the good things – little and large – in your life draws your focus to things that make you feel good, which makes you feel happy.

3. Physical health

We know that the body can be affected by the mind, but can gratitude really help physical fitness and illnesses? Well actually, yes. Studies show that people actively practicing gratitude tend to engage in healthy physical activities that keep both their mind and body fit. They also notice changes in their body more quickly and are more apt to get it checked out.

Gratitude ThanksgivingPhoto credit: Dan Holz Photography

4. Fewer bad habits

If you practice daily gratitude, enjoy an active life, and good levels of happiness, you want to keep it that way, right? People who benefit from these practices are much less likely to engage in damaging behavior and activities such as addictions.

5. Sleep

Sleeping quickly and deeply is much easier when you have no anxieties weighing you down. A grateful person is a good sleeper, which in turn has a massive effect on physical health and happiness.

Gratitude ThanksgivingPhoto credit: Huffington Post

6. Success

Most successful people won’t brag about their talents and strengths. Instead, they express gratitude for the things that have gone right in their lives. It doesn’t matter what background you come from, if you focus on being thankful for success you have already, you are encouraged to pursue more success. Comparatively, when success is not achieved, successful people are able to treat failure realistically.

7. It’s contagious!

Successful people also reap the benefits of gratitude because they infect the people around them with gratitude and positive thinking. Even introducing a thankful outlook at home with your family can have positive repercussions. Simply changing your perspective a couple of times a day is a powerful tool. So give thanks at Thanksgiving, and every other day in between.

Banner photo: Betty Crocker