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Thanksgiving Beyond November: Embracing Gratefulness Throughout the Year for Better Mental Wellbeing

Woman practicing gratitude during the fall season

Welcome to the season of gratitude! While Thanksgiving is often associated with a single day in November, it's time we break free from this confinement and embrace gratefulness all year round. In this blog post, we'll explore how cultivating an attitude of gratitude can significantly impact our mental wellbeing beyond the holiday festivities. So grab a pumpkin spice latte, cozy up by the fire, and let's embark on a journey towards a more fulfilling and contented life – one filled with abundant thanksgiving every day of the year!

The holiday of Thanksgiving has long been associated with gratefulness and giving thanks for the blessings in our lives. In fact, its name itself suggests a day dedicated to expressing gratitude. While this tradition of acknowledging our blessings on Thanksgiving is certainly important, it shouldn't be limited to just one day out of the year.

Gratefulness is a powerful emotion that can greatly impact our mental wellbeing. It allows us to shift our focus from what we lack or desire, and instead appreciate what we already have. This shift in perspective can lead to increased feelings of contentment, happiness, and overall mental wellbeing.

However, many people tend to only focus on practicing gratefulness during the holiday season. As soon as December hits, the emphasis on being thankful fades away along with the festive decorations. But why should such an important aspect of our mental health be overlooked for most of the year?

The truth is that gratefulness should not be reserved for just one day or even just one month out of the year. In fact, studies have shown that practicing gratitude throughout the entire year can have numerous benefits for our mental health and overall well-being.

One reason why gratefulness should be practiced year-round is because it helps combat negative thinking patterns. It's human nature to get caught up in negative thoughts and emotions at times, whether it's due to stress at work or personal challenges we may face. However, consistently practicing gratitude can help counteract these negative thought patterns by shifting our focus towards the positive aspects of our lives.

Gratitude, the act of expressing thanks and appreciation for what we have in our lives, has been a common theme during the Thanksgiving holiday. However, research shows that practicing gratitude on a regular basis can have significant benefits for mental health throughout the year. In fact, numerous scientific studies have been conducted to explore the effects of gratitude on mental wellbeing.

One study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that participants who wrote down things they were grateful for each week experienced more optimism and increased life satisfaction compared to those who focused on daily hassles or neutral events. Another study by Emmons and McCullough showed that writing in a gratitude journal for just three weeks resulted in improved mood, better sleep quality, and reduced symptoms of depression.

Furthermore, research has also shown that practicing gratitude can lead to increased levels of positive emotions such as joy, love, and contentment. This is due to the fact that expressing thanks activates areas in the brain associated with pleasure and reward. As a result, individuals who regularly practice gratitude tend to experience overall greater levels of happiness and well-being.

In addition to its impact on emotions, there is evidence suggesting that incorporating gratitude into our daily lives can also improve our relationships with others. A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality found that people who express gratitude towards their partners have stronger relationships characterized by more positive interactions and less conflict.

But how exactly does being grateful benefit our mental health? One theory suggests that focusing on what we are thankful for shifts our attention away from negative thoughts and emotions, allowing us to better cope with stress and adversity. It also helps us to recognize the good things in our lives, even when we may be going through difficult times.

Moreover, practicing gratitude has been linked to improved self-esteem and resilience. By acknowledging the positive aspects of our lives, we begin to see our own strengths and capabilities in a more positive light. This can lead to increased confidence and the ability to bounce back from challenges.

In summary, there is a growing body of scientific evidence supporting the benefits of gratitude for mental health. From improving mood and relationships to increasing overall well-being, incorporating gratitude into our daily lives can have a powerful impact on our mental wellbeing. So this holiday season (and beyond), take some time to reflect on what you are grateful for – your mental health will thank you for it!

Incorporating gratefulness into our daily routines is a powerful way to improve our mental wellbeing and overall happiness. While Thanksgiving may be the designated time for expressing gratitude, it is important to cultivate this practice throughout the year. Here are some practical tips for incorporating gratefulness into your daily routines:

1. Start your day with gratitude: Begin each morning by thinking of at least three things you are grateful for. This could be anything from having a warm bed to sleep in, to the support of loved ones, or simply waking up to a new day. By intentionally focusing on what you are thankful for, you set a positive tone for the rest of your day.

2. Keep a gratitude journal: Writing down what you are thankful for has been proven to have numerous benefits for our mental health. Make it a habit to write in a gratitude journal every night before going to bed. Reflect on the good things that happened during the day and express your appreciation for them in writing.

3. Express gratitude towards others: One of the best ways to incorporate gratefulness into your daily routine is by expressing it towards others. Take time every day to thank someone - whether it's a family member, friend, coworker, or even a stranger - for something they have done or said that made a positive impact on your life.

4. Use visual reminders: Place sticky notes or little signs around your home or workspace that say "be thankful" as gentle reminders throughout the day. These visual cues can help shift your mindset towards gratitude when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

5. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the act of being fully present and aware of your surroundings. Being mindful can help us appreciate the little things in life and find beauty in the present moment. Take a few minutes each day to pause, breathe, and fully take in your surroundings.

6. Turn negative thoughts into positive ones: When facing challenges or setbacks, it's easy to get caught up in negative thinking. Instead, try reframing these situations by finding something to be grateful for within them. For example, if you are stuck in traffic, be grateful for the extra time to listen to your favorite podcast or audiobook.

7. Say "thank you" with intention: Make a conscious effort to say "thank you" more often and with genuine gratitude. Whether it's to someone who held the door open for you or a waiter who served your meal, expressing appreciation can make both yourself and others feel good.

8. Reflect on past experiences: Take some time each week to reflect on past experiences that you are grateful for. This could be looking through old photos, reminiscing about happy memories with loved ones, or simply appreciating how far you have come from where you once were .

Remember, cultivating a grateful attitude is a practice that takes time and effort. By incorporating these tips into your daily routines, you can start to see the positive effects of gratefulness on your overall wellbeing.

Shifting your perspective and finding things to be thankful for during difficult times can be challenging, especially when you are facing significant stress or hardship. However, practicing gratitude and focusing on the positives in your life can greatly improve your mental wellbeing and help you cope with tough situations. In this section, we will discuss some practical ways to shift your perspective and find reasons to be thankful even during challenging times.

1. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help us become more aware of our thoughts and emotions. By practicing mindfulness, we can learn to observe our negative thoughts without judgment and let them pass by. This allows us to create space for more positive and grateful thoughts to arise. Take a few minutes each day to sit quietly, focus on your breath, and observe any negative thoughts that come up. Acknowledge these thoughts but then consciously choose to redirect your attention towards something you are grateful for.

2. Keep a gratitude journal: One effective way to shift your perspective towards gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. Set aside some time each day or week (depending on what works best for you) to write down three things that you are thankful for in that moment. It could be anything from having a roof over your head, good health, or even something as simple as the smile of a loved one. Writing down these moments of gratitude helps us appreciate the small things in life and shifts our focus away from negativity.

3. Look beyond material possessions: During difficult times, it's easy to focus on what we lack and what we wish we had. However, shifting our perspective towards gratitude involves looking beyond material possessions and appreciating the intangible things in life. This could be the love and support of family and friends, good memories, or even the lessons learned from tough situations.

4. Practice empathy: Another effective way to shift your perspective towards gratitude is by practicing empathy. When we put ourselves in someone else's shoes, it allows us to see their struggles and appreciate our own blessings in comparison. Take some time to volunteer or help those in need, as it can give you a sense of purpose and help you realize how fortunate you truly are.

5. Focus on the present moment: Often during difficult times, we tend to dwell on the past or worry about the future. However, focusing on the present moment can help us find things to be thankful for right now. Take a few deep breaths, look around you, and appreciate the little things that bring you joy at this moment.

6. Surround yourself with positivity: The people around us greatly influence our thoughts and emotions. During challenging times, it's essential to surround yourself with positive people who uplift your spirits and remind you of all the good things in life. Avoid spending time with negative or toxic individuals, as their energy can bring you down and make it harder to find things to be thankful for.

7. Practice self-care: Taking care of ourselves is crucial during difficult times. When we neglect our physical and emotional needs, it becomes challenging to maintain a positive outlook. Make sure you are getting enough rest, eating well, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. By taking care of yourself, you are allowing yourself the space to find gratitude even during tough situations.

Remember that finding things to be thankful for during difficult times does not mean ignoring your struggles or pretending everything is fine. It's about shifting your perspective towards gratitude and acknowledging the good things in life that may sometimes get overshadowed by challenges. By incorporating these practices into your daily routine, you can cultivate a more grateful mindset and find reasons to be thankful even during difficult times.

In a world that is constantly moving, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life. But taking a moment to reflect and express gratitude can have long-lasting effects on our mental wellbeing. As we approach Thanksgiving, let us remember that gratefulness is not just reserved for one day or one month but rather something we should embrace throughout the year. By incorporating these tips into our lives, we can cultivate a mindset of gratitude and experience improved mental health every day. So take some time to pause, appreciate what you have, and spread thankfulness wherever you go. Happy Thanksgiving!


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