How Gratitude Can Make You Healthier (and Happier, too)

The word “gratitude” gets a lot of airtime around Thanksgiving, but as soon as the turkey is gobbled up, many of us snap into super-shopper mode ahead of the upcoming holidays. Unfortunately, those December deadlines can give us tunnel vision, making it hard to be mindful during the so-called most wonderful time of the year.

We love a fun and meaningful gift guide, which is why we made a special one for you this year. It’s free, good for you, and the gift that keeps on giving: a gratitude practice. Even during a chaotic time, taking a few minutes to think about what you are grateful for can drastically improve your mental and physical health.

According to Harvard Health, “gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Thus, establishing a gratitude practice can be as important as having healthy eating habits and an exercise routine.

What gratitude is not: a toxic positivity practice. Exercising gratitude doesn’t mean ignoring challenges, feeling guilty about or minimizing your emotions, or invalidating hard times in your life. Instead, it’s looking at what we appreciate in both good times and bad.

An easy way to integrate a gratitude practice into your life is to jot down three things you’re grateful for every morning or evening. This practice can be done in a journal, in a phone’s notes app, or anywhere they can be jotted down and reviewed. Our team loves The Five Minute Journal to keep us on track in just a few minutes each morning and night. While we don’t recommend screen time before bed, a meditation or mindfulness app might help you get into a grateful state of mind.

A few other strategies suggested in the article Gratitude and Well Being in Psychiatry (Edgemont) include:

  • Thinking about someone you are grateful for
  • Writing (and/or sending) a letter to someone you are thankful for
  • Engaging in a gratitude-focused meditation

The Cancer Sherpa team is grateful for you and is here to support you through the holiday season and beyond. Contact us today.