Thanksgiving Everyday

April 11, 2022

Gloria Liou

For many, Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude and reflection that happens once per year — an opportunity to pause and take a moment to be thankful for who and what we have. But we don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to be grateful. We can have Thanksgiving everyday!

Gratitude is defined as a habitual focus on and appreciation for the positive aspects of life, and making it a habit is a fantastic idea. Gratitude is strongly associated with well - being and has been found to help individuals deal with adversity more effectively, become more stress - resistant, build stronger relationships, and feel more positive emotions in general. Previous studies have found that gratitude can be especially helpful when dealing with issues of comparison, because thinking about the good in one’s life tends to reduce thinking about the bad and can help individuals feel less of a need to compare themselves to others.

While big and involved gratitude interventions like week-long retreats and workshops can help us feel more grateful, there is actually evidence that with gratitude habits, smaller is better. This week, we are sharing a few gratitude habits that only take a few minutes and are easy to incorporate into your routine:

  • Many brief-but-effective gratitude interventions involve participants regularly writing down a list of things they are grateful for. If journaling proves difficult to incorporate into your busy schedule, try adding a gratitude reflection into your day. For example, each time you step into the shower, you could reflect on one thing that you are grateful for. This can be something as general as “I’m grateful to be alive!” or as specific as “Wow, that bagel I just ate was incredible. I’m so thankful for the delicious and nutritious meal.”
  • If you live with someone else, you can make a habit of telling your partner and/or roommate(s) one thing you are thankful for about them each day. You can do this at any time: right after waking up, after getting home from school/work, when eating dinner, before heading to bed. If your partner or roommate is interested in participating, this can become a fun joint activity and can strengthen your relationship.
  • When sending a birthday message to a friend or family member, add a sentence expressing gratitude for their existence and your friendship.
  • Recently, there has been increased focus on the concept of savoring among positive psychology researchers. Savoring is attending, appreciating, and enhancing positive experiences that occur in one’s life. Though commonly associated with food, you can savor anything : the smell of a candle, the warmth of the sun, the chirp of a bird. You can even savor the past and the future — remembering funny moments you shared with a sibling or visualizing a trip you have planned in a month. Find moments throughout the day to practice the art of savoring. Savoring requires us to slow down and reflect, which can be an especially welcome respite in our busy student lives.

Gloria Liou

Gloria Liou received her B.A. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from Pomona College, after which she joined Google as a product manager. Her current research interests include gender inequality, women in STEM, well - being, and close relationships. Outside of work, Gloria enjoys playing violin, running, and writing.

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