Being Thankful During Thanksgiving
November 23, 2020
In our Science of Well-Being class, we practiced gratitude over four days. Students had to choose any one of the following to do each day:
- Three Blessings: Write out at least three good things at the end of each day. Pause and remember to be grateful.
- Gratitude Call or Letter: Call or write a letter of gratitude expressing thanks to someone.
- Savoring Nature: Take a mindful stroll around nature while practicing the emotion of gratitude.
Each day, students reported the extent they experienced well-being on a questionnaire. When we compared the days they were practicing gratitude to the baseline, it showed clear improvements in positive emotions and a greater sense of flourishing. Our experience jives with research findings showing the clear benefits of gratitude for personal well-being.
During this Thanksgiving season, it is perhaps even more imperative to emphasize gratitude as we find creative ways to connect with our loved ones.
Gratitude can prompt us to remember and notice the underserved kindness and goodness others have shown to us. It helps us appreciate our relationships. It encourages us to recognize others whom we can so easily take for granted. When others know that we are thankful, it can create a positive spiral of mutual love and affection.
Last week as I put my 8-year old daughter to bed, I said, “I’m so thankful for you, Hannah. You are amazing, and I am so fortunate to have you in my life.” I then gave her a big kiss on her forehead.
In one instant, those words filled her with joy. She was positively beaming as she gave me one of her signature squeezy hugs. With her face on mine, she said, ‘I love you, daddy.’
It was an endless moment for me.
And - it now serves as a constant reminder that even a simple word of appreciation, thankfulness, and gratitude can help our relationships flourish.
Is there someone you can express gratitude to this Thanksgiving season?
Dr. Louis Tay
Tay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. He has expertise in well-being, assessments, and data science. Be sure to check back each week for another wellness tip of the week!
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