A few years ago, chances were that any average American you’d meet, would have a Thanksgiving story to tell – it could be steeped in grandma’s traditions, sumptuous gravies, pies, and turkey that so define the holiday, or get-togethers with family and friends. But as we all settle into the retail age of today, Thanksgiving is becoming overshadowed by Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving that marks the start of the holiday shopping season. In fact, a recent Bloomberg survey revealed that 36% of US organizations require at least some employees to work on Thanksgiving, though they do compensate them by giving paid leave on other working days.
As the classic American holiday that came into being in year 1621 slowly loses its charm, we tell you why Thanksgiving still matters, maybe even more than Christmas or any other holiday. As a day that celebrates Gratitude and sharing, this is a perfect time for some life balance check-in.
The Power of Giving Thanks
Gratitude enriches human life and there’s solid science behind it. Research shows that gratitude is the single most important ingredient for mental well-being and trumps all other personality traits. Here’s what the act of giving thanks does to your body:
- Improves sleep quality: A study on people with chronic sleep disorders found that 40% of the people benefitted with improved sleep quality when they consciously practiced ‘appreciation’.
- Makes you 25% happier: In a study where participants were made to maintain a gratefulness journal for 10 weeks, the result revealed that doing so made people happier by a significant margin, 25% to be precise.
- Makes you more likely to commit to 40 minutes of weekly exercise: Studies have found that people who maintain a gratefulness journal are more likely to exercise than those who don’t.
- Helps you nail that elusive work-life balance: Being thankful elevates your self-esteem, helps put situations in perspective, reduces stress, depression, anxiety, and strengthens your relationships with loved ones – making you contended in the long run.
Exercise Gratitude like it’s a Muscle
Given the virtual world we live in, being grateful doesn’t come easy for most of us. We need to consciously exercise gratitude like we do a muscle and what better way to start than by celebrating Thanksgiving. Ahead of the D-day this year, we give you 3 innovative ways to say thanks:
- Appreciate co-workers: Workplace stress is arguably the worst and the most prevalent form of stress globally. If you are the boss, make it easy for your team mates by sending them thank you emails for their good work.
- Raise grateful kids: Ask your kids this question daily before putting them to bed – “What was your happiest moment of the day?” Inculcating appreciation as a daily habit right from childhood makes for stress-free adulthood and more fulfilling lives.
- Gifting as a token: The habit of giving gifts, small or big, as a mark of appreciation, goes a long way into making relationships more pleasant, be it family or friends.
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