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Giving Thanks - The Mind and Body Benefits of Gratitude

Giving Thanks - The Mind and Body Benefits of Gratitude

November 24, 2019

Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul – Amy Collette.

As we are in November, there is no better time to look into the benefits of gratitude and thanksgiving.

You may not realise this but being thankful for what you have in your life can make you happier, and there is plenty of scientific evidence to support it.  

Showing gratitude each day is a wonderful way to live your best life. It changes the way your mind and body react; it helps you see the good in what you have and focuses you away from the negative and more to the positive.  

Thanking others, thanking ourselves – gratitude in any form can enlighten the mind and make us feel happier. It has a healing effect on us. (Russell and Fosha, 2008)

As an American, Thanksgiving is of course a very special occasion and brings very fond memories. I've actually spent many more thanksgivings as an adult out of the USA and I have so many happy memories of hosting large Thanksgiving dinners with an international group of friends in Barcelona. As a tradition you go around the table and say what you are thankful for. It's strange but you realise the act of reflecting on and giving thanks for the good things in your life is so foreign to most people. Many feel uncomfortable at the prospect at first, but then feel so much better afterwards. It's actually a very moving experience and many times those who you would expect to brush it off take it the most seriously. People would look forward to that part every year and plan in advance what to say. 

If you think about it, in today's society instead of being encouraged to be grateful for what we have, we are actively encouraged to NOT be satisfied, and instead to want more and more - to reflect on what we don't have and what we "need" in our lives. We all know from experience that this is not a healthy mindset. So if you've never experienced the fuzzy feeling of giving thanks for what you are grateful for, and enjoying the gratitude of others during a Thanksgiving dinner - don't worry, you don't need a thanksgiving event to do so. Here are some of the benefits of practicing thanksgiving as part of your everyday life. I encourage you to give it a try.

The above picture is from the recent Hello Day 2020 Collection Showcase and Thanksgiving Dinner event hosted by Hello Day at Rose & Grey in Altrincham on November 19th. For more info and photos, read to the bottom of the blog.

 

 

The Benefits of Giving Thanks

Giving thanks to others and to ourselves helps us feel positive emotions, mostly happiness and joy. By increasing these pleasurable feelings, we can positively impact our physical and mental wellbeing.

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for. – Zig Ziglar

There is plenty of scientific evidence to show that gratitude has a significant impact on the brain.

Expressing and receiving gratitude affects our brain, encouraging the release of dopamine and serotonin, two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, which can make us feel happy.

They have an immediate effect, so we get a quick hormone hit from being thankful and giving thanks.

If we practice this every day though we can strengthen these neural pathways, allowing them to create a permanent positivity and gratefulness within ourselves.

We can literally change how our mind works by practicing gratitude on a regular basis and so increase our levels of happiness and joy accordingly.

 

How to Practice Gratitude

Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to ensure you stay on track and practice being thankful on a regular basis. Research has been done on the practice of writing down grateful thoughts which shows how it can improve your quality of life.

Keeping a gratitude journal causes less stress, improves the quality of sleep, and builds emotional awareness (Seligman, Steen, Park and Peterson, 2005).

Our collection of daily Hello Day planners prompt you to reflect upon and record something mindful every day of the week, and Thursday is focused on gratitude. However we would encourage you to actively focus on gratitude every day as part of your daily routine. You could use any of our Hello Day notebooks as your gratitude journal.

Start now. Write down 5 things you are grateful for in your journal every day.

You could start with your family, your job, your health – the obvious ones potentially, but then work onto the detail in your life.

  • Plan a time to meet up with a friend and be thankful for their presence in your life.
  • Start each morning with a quiet cup of coffee and be thankful for that moment to yourself.
  • Show someone you care about them and thank them for their advice or support.
  • Write down when someone makes you laugh, and how grateful you felt during a busy, stressful day.
  • Be grateful for the walk you took, or the bike you rode, of the gym class you attended. Make a note.

Even simple things like offering gratitude when someone does you the smallest of favours will help you feel happier.

Don’t take the little things for granted, be thankful and show others how you feel.

Gratitude helps us feel more alive, increases our energy and improves our overall enthusiasm to work harder. Don’t underestimate its power.

Changing the way you think, improving the positivity in your life and generally being more mindful has a powerful impact on our health, even the NHS recommends it.

Their 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing encourages us to connect with others, be active, learn new skills, give to others and be mindful.

Practice these steps and incorporate them into your daily life – they will improve your wellbeing.

Feeding gratitude through these elements and keeping a log of your gratefulness in a planner is the best way to improve happiness.

If you’ve not tried it yet, we recommend giving it a go. And don't forget to let us know how you get on!

 

____________________

 

HELLO DAY THANKSGIVING

So whilst on the subject of gratitude, I am delighted to say that the recent Hello Day Thankgiving Dinner took place last Tuesday and the evening was a great success!! We invited a small group of local women, all wonderful and successful in their own way, to take part in a Hello Day Thanksgiving-themed celebration.

The event was hosted at the lovely Rose & Grey interiors store in Altrincham, Cheshire which provided the most perfect, sophisticated setting for an evening of great food and wine. It was held in true Thanksgiving fashion, reflecting on all that we are grateful for in life, and looking forward to the blessings and opportunities to come in 2020.

I am so so grateful for everyone who helped to make this event a success - everyone who attended, contributed and helped out. 

I’m also hugely grateful to each and every one of you for your love and support in helping Hello Day to become a success.  

I wanted to share some photos with those of you who may not have seen them on Instagram.


 

Thank you for your contribution to the event:

Rose & Grey - venue

Winging It Club - planning/organising 

Mirabeau Wine - Rose Wine & Sparkling Rose 

The Flower Lounge - Flowers 

Pete Cooks - Chef 

Raspberry Toast - Menus

 

Thank you for the beautiful women who came to share the evening with us: 

Nadia @artynads

Onyi @Mossonyi

Samio @samiorenelda

Rosie - @rosieannbutcher

Hannah @hannahbeaumontlaurencia

Sally Fazeli @sallyfazeli

Sarah @relovedmcr

Tiphanie @littletoptipis

 

Thank you for the goody bag contributions: 

Rose & Grey 

Mirabeau Wine

Too Wordy

Eleanor Bowmer

Jess Adams 

Dook Soap

Winging It Club



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