Adopting an attitude of gratitude improves health, life
3 mins read

Adopting an attitude of gratitude improves health, life

November is a month pretty much dedicated to a certain turkey dinner or extra time to celebrate Christmas festivities. It’s easy to get caught up in said activities and the looming threat of finals week and forget about some other aspects of this month.

Particularly, November is a time for gratitude. How that gratitude takes form is an individual decision, but taking the time to think about the details in life that make it worth living is important. The importance extends beyond a personal level, affecting many areas of life.

Whether it’s turning on the news or pulling up a smart phone application, violence and drama lurk around every corner. Seeing constant negative headlines actually has a negative affect on well-being and morale.

Evidence from the Good News Network shows that human empathy causes people to be naturally inclined to imitate what they see without thinking about it, even if the effects are hurtful. These negative headlines dominate the news world because people have a so-called “negativity bias,” the term psychologists use for society’s collective hunger to hear and remember bad news. All of this exposure to less-than-cheerful messages takes a damper on overall views on the world.

In light of Thanksgiving, now is a great time to slow down and express gratitude. Whether that means giving out random compliments, wishing phone contacts a good day, or just saying a simple “thank you” more often are all noteworthy.

As a personal plug, I write a blog and have challenged myself to post every day about something I’m grateful for. Not only have I gotten great responses thus far, it’s been enlightening for me to think more about the little details I may overlook and see how much everything affects my day-to-day life.

Gratitude is great as is, but science shows it has neurological benefits. According to the Huffington Post, expressing gratitude on a regular basis leads to more positive outlooks on life, healthier habits and improved relationships with others.

Appreciating people more often obviously isn’t an end-all solution, but it certainly brightens up the days of either party involved. Everybody is facing his or her fair share of struggles that aren’t necessarily transparent. One little comment or sign of appreciation could make a significant difference.

Usually daily gratitude for minute details doesn’t come to mind immediately. Guides on happiness usually encourage people to make a list of goals to achieve and work toward them. When people make certain goals, however, they forget about living in the current moment. It’s as if they don’t listen to the entirety of a song and simply skip to the end when it comes together. Maybe life should be more like a piece of music, and people are supposed to be dancing.

Life isn’t slowing down for anybody. It doesn’t stop to allow people to go back and say or do things differently, even if it’s for the better. Time spent dwelling in pessimism doesn’t benefit anybody. Bad news sells, but on a daily basis, people don’t always have to buy it. If everybody has the choice to have just one moment of Thanksgiving beyond Turkey Day, why not take it?