Thanksgiving: the day where families come together to give thanks, and then stuff their face with turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. While many people think listing things they are grateful for is just a boring tradition that gets in the way of the meal, showing gratitude has major health benefits. Writing in a gratitude journal every day, or just silently acknowledging all that you have in your life, can change your life.
1) Most people chase happiness in their life, but don’t know where to find it. An unlikely source would be tracking gratitude. If a person wrote down things they were grateful for in a journal for five minutes a day, their happiness would increase by more than 10 percent over a six month period of time. To compare, that is the impact of doubling a person’s income. How can five minutes a day have that much of an effect on a person’s happiness? Well, the first time a person writes in their journal, they are put in a grateful mood for that time, but then they shortly get out of it. After months and months of writing, the grateful moods last longer each day. They will be in a grateful mood for hours at a time instead of minutes, and their overall happiness level will rise.
2) Showing gratitude can also have surprising effects on our personality. They can make us more friendly, and less self-centered. This can make us more enjoyable to be around, and can increase our social circle. The five minutes a day makes a self-centered person think about the others around them. As the time goes on, they will be less likely to think about themselves all the time. Gratitude also makes a person less materialistic. They will be more likely to spend time with friends and family, or other people who bring the most happiness in someone’s life.
3) Having trouble falling asleep? Maybe a gratitude journal is the answer. Writing down in the journal, especially right before bed, can increase relaxation levels and decrease stress levels. This will calm a restless mind, and increase sleep quality and duration, while reducing the time it takes to fall asleep. This is extremely useful to students, who seem to come to school with five minutes of sleep a day. Another health issue students battle with is high stress levels. This is also something giving thanks can help. The five minutes a day can help take our mind off the negatives things in our life, and help us focus on the positives.
4) We already know that gratitude can help us make new friends, but it is also beneficial to deepening relationships. Whether it’s a significant other, friend, or family, thinking about how this person positivity affects your life can make you more appreciative of them. If you write down how this person does that, you will think of that every time you see them. This will make sure you never take a person for granted.
So before you proceed to devour any food that’s put in front of you, remember to be thankful for the people in your life. It may seem like a silly tradition, but it can change your life.
Nikolas Bailey, Staff Writer
Sophomore Nikolas Bailey is a staff writer for the 2017-2018 Colonel. In LHS he participates in soccer and baseball while also pursuing hobbies in graphic design and photography. When he’s not working, you’ll find him watching movies.