Imagine: you’re sitting around the dinner table with your family. The green bean casserole is on the table, your cousin is working the mashed potatoes and your friend is unwrapping a dish full of stuffing he swears he added enough spices to. You start carving the turkey, and before everyone is even seated at the table, you hear the dreaded question: “so… what’s everyone thankful for this year?”
*Cue collective eye roll*
But what if we told you that you can take care of yourself by showing appreciation for others? 🤯 Saying a hearty “thank you” to the people, places or experiences we encounter is an effective way to cultivate gratitude and live more mindfully.
When considering the research around gratitude and mental health, the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley discusses how “more grateful people are happier, more satisfied with their lives, less materialistic, and less likely to suffer from burnout.” Additionally, research highlighted how multiple studies have shown that “more grateful people experience less depression and are more resilient following traumatic events.” Practicing gratitude supports us in getting to that “glass half full” mentality.
This Thanksgiving season, we encourage you to ask yourself (or those around you) a few of the following questions:
1) Who was the last person that made you smile? How about the last person that made you laugh so hard you nearly cried?
2) What do you like most about where you live?
3) What’s been the best movie you’ve watched, song you’ve listened to or book you’ve read in the last few months?
4) What do other people like about you (besides your dashing good looks)?
5) What was one of your favorite trips, vacations or staycations in the last few years?
6) Who went out of their way to help you when you were in need? Or even just gave you some time and space to vent?
7) When was the last time you made a delicious meal or slept so well you felt like a new person?
8) What things in your life are you potentially taking for granted? How can you take a moment to give them the appreciation they deserve?
9) What’s one workout or exercise routine you’ve been crushing lately?
10) What random act of kindness have you done for someone recently?
Thanksgiving isn’t the only time to think about what brings you joy — try making it a habit to reflect on the good in your life throughout the year. Record your answers in a way that works for you: write them on a sticky note, add it to a journal, type it on your phone or take a picture that captures the idea or feeling. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @rgdcampaign for more tips.