The Surprising Benefits of Thanksgiving
Sure, Thanksgiving is about spending time with loved ones, watching football, and eating more carbs than a marathoner eats the night before the big race. However, we often forget the most important part of the holiday—actually giving thanks. Showing gratitude, in turn, is good for your health and your business in many ways.
Here are just a few:
Keeping a gratitude journal and writing down what you’re thankful for every night can help you not only sleep longer but also more soundly, according to a study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend 15 minutes adding some grateful thoughts to your journal before bedtime, and you’ll feel more refreshed in the morning.
Improved Physical and Mental Health
Turns out that keeping a gratitude journal doesn’t just improve sleep: Researchers have found that people who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more often, experienced fewer health issues, and felt happier and more optimistic about life than those who wrote negative or neutral thoughts instead.
Thankfulness is also a major stress-buster. “Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress,” says researcher and University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons.
Being thankful has even improved outcomes for patients with heart problems, another study found. Lead author of that study, Paul J. Mills, Ph.D., professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California in San Diego, explained, “It seems that a more grateful heart is indeed a healthier heart, and that gratitude journaling is an easy way to support cardiac health.”
Saying “thanks” can actually boost business. As Harvard Health Publications reports, researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania divided fundraisers into two groups—one group made calls to alumni to solicit donations as they normally did, while the other volunteer group made calls after the director of annual giving gave them a pep talk telling them how thankful she was for their efforts.
The results: The latter group made 50% more calls than those who didn’t. In other words, thanking colleagues and employees can inspire them to work harder.
It can’t hurt to occasionally thank clients for their business either!
Whether dealing with your work or life in general, being able to bounce back and overcome adversity is a key to success. Gratitude helps you do just that. In fact, a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude greatly helped people be more resilient after the attacks on September 11th.
Meanwhile, studies have shown that being thankful boosts self-esteem which, in turn, helps people perform better and work well with others. In other words, if you feel great about yourself, you won’t be as likely to feel resentment or jealously about your colleague’s successes and promotions (feelings that don’t do anything to lead to your success.)
Research has shown that when people feel grateful for their partner’s acts of kindness, they feel more connected with their loved one and more satisfied in the relationship. However, this isn’t just about romantic relationships: Being thankful can go a long way in forging stronger bonds among friends and at work.
What are you thankful for?