No wonder it feels so good to be thankful!
“Besides sharing time with family and friends over food, the primary ingredient of the American Thanksgiving holiday is gratitude. While it’s certainly good to have an annual holiday to remind us to express gratitude, there’s much to be said for the benefits of cultivating the spirit of thankfulness year-round... One way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or list, where you actively write down exactly what you’re grateful for each day. In one study,3, 4 people who kept a gratitude journal reported exercising more, and they had fewer visits to the doctor compared to those who focused on sources of aggravation. As noted in a previous ABC News article,5 studies have shown that gratitude can produce a number of measurable effects on a number of systems in your body, including:
Mood neurotransmitters (serotonin and norepinephrine)
Reproductive hormones (testosterone)
Social bonding hormones (oxytocin)
Cognitive and pleasure related neurotransmitters (dopamine)
Inflammatory and immune systems (cytokines)
Stress hormones (cortisol)
Blood pressure and cardiac and EEG rhythms
…People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude).
Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone’s gratitude, it’s a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.”