But why do it? One reason to express gratitude is to change your brain and your body. When we experience or express gratitude, the brain quickly responds, as it calms down and is able to focus more clearly. And the body responds too, as the heart rate goes down. People who express gratitude have improved sleep and experience fewer aches and pains. During this week before Thanksgiving, you might try these three paths to expressing gratitude and see what happens.
To try: spend time each day expressing gratitude for what is functioning.
To try: spend time each day being grateful for some of this abundance. (And maybe take a look at the book online to spark your gratitude.)
To try: now that we’re moving around more freely, express gratitude for your loved ones and for all those people who are the glue of the society you find yourself in. And try telling these people how grateful you are for their presence in your life. A simple “Thank you for the conversation” can bring joy to you and others.
Many experts suggest keeping a gratitude journal. I like the idea of writing down one thing at night that we’re grateful for. When we take note, we can enjoy the changes in our brains and bodies. And maybe the suggestions above will also open new pathways of friendship. If we notice the people around us, and we thank them for what they do, we might make new friends.
Being grateful for all the abundance in our lives is something most of us casually do every Thanksgiving as we eat our meal, but being grateful feeds us and feeds others. So this year improve your own health by practicing intentional gratitude and you may improve the wellbeing of those around you, too!
Kathy Carlson taught English at Franklin for 36 years. Henry David Thoreau and an early yoga practice led her to mindfulness meditation, which she has been teaching formally at Franklin since 2013.