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Giving Thanks This Thanksgiving

This week is Thanksgiving, and we have been thinking about the "thanks" part of the Thanksgiving holiday. Interestingly enough, research has shown that being grateful has many benefits, ranging from better health, to better relationships, to boosting your mood. Whether gratitude is expressed verbally, or in writing doesn't appear to matter; it remains one of humanity's most powerful emotions and is akin to an emotional 'reset' button.

Gratitude can be particularly beneficial when you are going through a hard time, such as a divorce, a period of unemployment, or health problems. University of Miami psychologist professor Michael McCullough says "When you are stopping and counting your blessings, you are sort of hijacking your emotional system". He means that gratitude can bring you out of a funk and into a very happy state. McCullough continues "It does make people happier … It's that incredible feeling." Robert Emmons, a professor who specializes in the study of gratitude at UC Davis, also states "We found that increased feelings of gratitude can cause people's well-being and quality of life to improve".

Many studies have been done that support these beliefs, including a 2007 study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the Mississippi University for Women. This study found that organ-transplant recipients who kept gratitude journals listing five things or people that they were grateful for each day scored better on measures of general health, mental health and vitality than those who only made routine notes about their days.

Other studies have shown that gratitude even affects the success of your relationships. A recent study done in 2010 tracked more than 65 couples that were in satisfying and committed relationships. Interestingly enough, the results showed that each couple's relationship quality corresponded with one partner's feelings of gratitude. This was demonstrated when researchers tracked the day-to-day fluctuations in the couple's relationship satisfaction. What they found was that on the day when one partner expressed feelings of gratitude, both partners experienced a positive emotional response. As a result, researchers now think that gratitude is a very important part of maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner, and that it can strengthen romantic bonds. What amazing research!!

This Thanksgiving, we plan to incorporate gratitude as a regular part of our everyday lives and we encourage you to do the same. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, we are grateful for the opportunity to connect with you through this blog!

(Source: Why Giving Thanks Is Good For The Psyche, Huffington Post, and Why You Should be Grateful This Thanksgiving, livescience.com)

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