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What Are You Grateful For?

November 23, 2011

If you’re like the millions of American traveling today to family or friends, you might be stuck in traffic, delayed at the airport, or cramped on a crowded train. Even if you’re lucky enough to be at home on the busiest travel day of the year, preparing for houseguests and standing in line for last-minute ingredients at the grocery store can be trying.

If you find yourself getting stressed out today, pause for a moment. Remember what Thanksgiving is all about: literally, giving thanks. Days like today give us all the opportunity to notice and appreciate what we have. A loving partner to sit in traffic with, a family to travel to, the money to buy a plane ticket, a healthy body to digest turkey and mashed potatoes … at the end of the day, these are things that matter.

Shifting your focus from the negative to the positive won’t only put you in a better mood. As it turns out, maintaining an attitude of gratitude can have incredible impact on your health. Research shows that people who regularly express gratitude have a healthier heart, are likely to live longer, exercise more, sleep better, feel less depressed, and enjoy happier marriages. Thanksgiving is a reminder that for our health and happiness, gratitude matters every day.

Making gratitude a part of your daily life requires a definite shift in your worldview, but like so many other behaviors, it can be practiced and learned. Exactly one year ago, Integrative Nutrition founder Joshua Rosenthal shared some insightful tips on how to start a daily gratitude practice. Slow down, visualize a person or place you love, keep a gratitude journal (there’s an app for that!) – it all adds up and can profoundly change your life.

What are you grateful for?