This week, we move into the month of Thanksgiving. From social media to television and magazines, you're sure to see lots of people expressing their gratitude for lots of things. It is easy to write off this apparent gratefulness as congratulatory self-promotion, particularly if you are struggling right now. No matter where you are in life, I encourage you to focus on gratitude this Thanksgiving season, because doing so really can revolutionize your mental health.
Improved Physical Health
Your mental and physical health are inextricably linked. By improving one, you inevitably begin improving upon the other. A recent Harvard study confirmed that people who focused on cultivating gratitude for 10 weeks not only felt happier, but also complained of fewer physiological symptoms, and required fewer trips to medical providers.
No one feels good when they listen to a litany of all the things they have done wrong, but partners often fall into a trap of endless complaining. Stop complaining about your partner this month, and focus instead on displaying gratitude as frequently as possible. Your partner will feel better, and you may begin feeling better about your relationship. As both of your attitudes improve, so too will your behavior. Put bluntly: complaining tends to accentuate the behavior you don't like, but when you show gratitude, you'll see more of the behavior you like, and a lot less of the behavior that upsets you.
A Sunnier Outlook
It can be tough to find inspiration to move forward, but gratitude offers hope. Research consistently demonstrates that grateful people are happier people with a more optimistic outlook. Optimism correlates with a host of other benefits, including a reduced risk of depression and heart disease.