As Thanksgiving approaches, many people take inventory of their lives, and sometimes it’s easier to focus on what we don’t have, rather than what we do have. This year, why not take time out to remember all of the things you have to be thankful for that many times we take for granted. Research shows that expressing thankfulness increases your overall wellbeing, and can help you sleep better at night. Here are some things to be thankful for every day:
- Freedom of religion. Being able to worship whomever and however you want is something many people never experience. Our country was founded by people seeking religious freedom, and it is still one of the best things about living in America.
- Laughter. Without laughter, the world would be a sad place indeed. Laughter releases endorphins, which make us feel good. It also lowers blood pressure, strengthens your immune system, reduces stress hormone levels, and gives your abs a workout.
- Thank you notes. Whether you are giving or receiving a thank you note, it feels good. When you are the one to receive the acknowledgment, it is validating. When you are the one to send the thanks, it feels good to know you are going to make someone else’s day.
- Sunshine. Even on the coldest winter day, sunshine can bring a smile and brighten your day, filling it with warmth. Sunshine is something we can all be thankful for every day.
- Four-footed friends. Pets can be a great source of comfort when we’re feeling low, and the joy expressed by our pets when we come home at the end of a long day of work is an outward manifestation of their unconditional love for us.
- Music. There is nothing more soothing or uplifting than hearing the perfect song at the perfect moment. Music makes us laugh, cry, reminisce, and take heart. So crank up the tunes, and get your jam on!
- The kindness of strangers. That man who just let you cut into the line of traffic in front of him, the lady who held the elevator door for you, the store clerk who used her hidden 20% discount coupon for your purchase, the person who let you have the parking spot you both could have gone for. There are an infinite number of kind gestures that come our way, we just need to acknowledge them and be thankful for them.
- Volunteer opportunities. This is a great way to boost your thankfulness quotient! The chance to help someone else, whether it is serving soup at a local homeless shelter, visiting the elderly in rest homes, or helping out your child’s teacher for a day. Giving of your time and talents, and sometimes just a listening ear, can be very rewarding.
- Coffee & Tea. Sometimes, it just doesn’t get any better than those moments when you curl up with a steaming mug of coffee or tea. ‘Tis the season of enjoying our favorite beverages to keep us warm and cozy!
- Faithful friends. You know who they are, they are the ones who are always there when you need them. Have you said thank you to a friend lately? Don’t assume your friends know how you feel about them or how important their friendship is to you. Tell them. Send a card, note, letter, or pick up the phone and set a coffee date just to spend time together.
These are just a few examples of things to be thankful for every day. If you also have good health, a roof over your head, food to eat, and loving, supportive relationships, you are indeed a wealthy person. Focus on all the things you have to be thankful for every day, and magnify the good things in your life to help make this Thanksgiving season a special one.