Why Give Thanks?

How will expressing gratitude help you along your journey? The answers may surprise you.
Published October 23, 2017

As we head into the month of Thanksgiving, you’ll probably start hearing more and more sayings about being thankful. Why do we give thanks, anyway? Is it just because it’s a holiday and tradition, based on the legend of the Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down to a feast after a long, hard year? Maybe, but it turns out that expressing gratitude is a good idea all year long: It can uplift your mood and help increase happiness.1,2 This sets off a chain of positivity; boosting your bliss helps you make better choices about your health. And making better choices about your health can lead to what? Ding-ding! Yes, weight loss.3

This is all great news, but how do you get into the swing of gratitude? Is it only at the dinner table before you dig into the turkey and cranberry sauce or is it possible to keep this good feeling going all the time? The idea behind making it a regular routine, like the “Three Good Things” technique, is that the more we do it, the more we reap the benefits. The technique brings mindfulness into your day — taking in the good that happened and zeroing in on it, rather than focusing on the negativity and stressors in your life.

How does it work? Check out how Mallory, a.k.a. @mdm568 on Connect, practiced the #3goodthings technique in her post:

1. Good conversation with hubby!!
2. Just felt good about myself all day.
3. Had points to spare so I put 1 tsp of BUTTER on my baked spaghetti squash! So so yummy!!

I just want to say that relaxing at night and reading the Connect posts just makes my day! You all are inspiring, funny, determined, strong, creative, and the list goes on!! Keep on keepin’ on!!!”

This fall, we’re encouraging you to regularly write down what you’re grateful for. Maybe it’s the friendly faces in your support system that help you understand that you can take on the week no matter what the scale said. Perhaps it’s the amount of pride you have when you are more energetic after a morning walk. Think about the little things and the big feelings they give you!

Inspiration from Julie a.k.a. @julikins85, who posted this #gratitude post on Connect: 

"Every morning, it's just me and my pup.... I love the quiet of the morning where my phone is not ringing yet, I'm not getting work emails, I don't have to fight traffic, and I'm not having to solve impossible problems all day. In these quiet moments I can just observe my happy little Brutus wagging his tail and I am grateful for life and the opportunity to do it all over again."

For more on giving thanks, check out Oprah’s talk, “The Gift of Gratitude” on Connecting with Oprah. She shares one of her favorite teachings from Meister Eckhart and how it transformed her daily life.

Let’s commit to being more grateful all year long, team. Happy Thanksgiving!  

1 Yoshimura SM, Berzins K. Grateful experiences and expressions: the role of gratitude expressions in the link between gratitude experiences and wellbeing. Review of Communication. 2017;17(2):106-118.
2 Wood AM, et al. Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2009;66(1):43-48.
3 Boehm JK and Kubzansky LD. The heart’s content: the association between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular health. Psychological Bulletin 2012;138(4):655-691