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Giving thanks can make you happier - Harvard Health

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

health.harvard.edu

Giving thanks can make you happier - Harvard Health
Depression is more than a passing bout of sadness or dejection, or feeling down in the dumps. It can leave you feeling continuously burdened and can sap the joy out of once-pleasurable activities. In Understanding Depression, find out how effective t...

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Gratitude meaning

Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. 

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

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Write a thank-you note

Write a thank-you note

You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person's impact on your life. 

Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. 

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Thank someone mentally

No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you and mentally thank the individual.

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Keep a gratitude journal

Keep a gratitude journal

Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you've received each day.

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Count your blessings

Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. 

Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.

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Pray

People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.

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Meditate

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. 

Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as "peace"), it is also possible to focus on what you're grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).

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Things you feel grateful for

Identify 3 things that you feel grateful for and appreciate about your life.

These things can be based on the past, present, or futu...

Things you take for granted

Identify 3 things that you take for granted but are actually very thankful for.

This is the time to reflect and discover which of those you value the most. 

Things you appreciate about yourself

Identify 3 things that you appreciate about yourself.

Pick things that are meaningful. These can involve your personality, your qualities, your actions, or anything else directly related to yourself.

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Philosophical roots of gratitude

Aristotle argued that we become what we habitually do. If we spend our days thinking of everything that has gone poorly and how dark our future appears, we can think ourselves into...

Religious roots of gratitude

  • In Judaism, the first words of the morning prayer could be translated, "I thank you."
  • From a Christian perspective, thanksgiving is vital. Jesus gives thanks before he shares his last meal with his disciples.
  • The 55th chapter of the Quran lists all the things humans have to be grateful for - the sun, moon, clouds, rain, air, grass, animals, plants, river, and oceans.
  • Hindu festivals celebrate blessings and offer thanks for them.
  • In Buddhism, gratitude develops patience and serves as an antidote to greed.

Gratitude as a way of life

One way to cultivate a disposition of gratitude is to give thanks regularly - at the beginning of the day, at meals, and at the end of the day.

Holidays, weeks, seasons, and years can be punctuated with thanks - grateful prayer, writing thank-you notes, and keeping a gratitude journal.

Stress can prevent you from keeping a healthy weight

Stress can prevent you from keeping a healthy weight

Stress can prevent you from keeping a healthy weight.

Every time you're stressed, your adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol. Your body releases gluc...

Cortisol and sugar cravings

With increased levels of cortisol, your body is supplied with glucose for energy, and your body signals the need for extra sugar.

The downside of eating sugar is that your body tends to store sugar, especially after stressful situations, as abdominal fat. The vicious cycle continues: stress, cortisol release, craving sugar, weight gain.

Cortisol and metabolism

Cortisol slows down your metabolism, decreasing your ability to lose weight.

Researchers found that women who reported one or more stressors burned fewer calories than non-stressed women. Stressed women also had higher insulin levels, resulting in fat storage.