20 Ways to Show Gratitude Even After Thanksgiving is Over

11/24/2012

Gratitude photo

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude. It's a time when we acknowledge those parts of our lives for which we are thankful. However, happiness comes from showing gratitude not just on Thanksgiving, but each and every day of our lives, even when it's not so easy.

Remind yourself everyday of the people and relationships for which you’re thankful. Whatever method you use, be grateful for what you have.

Studies have found that showing gratitude and giving back makes us happier than receiving. Stephen G. Post wrote The Hidden Gifts of Helping, which highlighted how generosity produced a number of both physical and mental benefits. Giving didn’t have to be in the form of a gift, it could be helping your fellow man or giving to charities. 

Post said that even just thinking about "giving activates" stimulates the mesolimbic pathway or the brain’s "reward center" where dopamine is regulated and also activates the ventral striatum -- the part of the brain responsible for satisfaction. 

So we literally feel a sense of satisfaction when we do something good for another person. Hence, gratitude is a good thing, no matter how you slice it. 

Even after Thanksgiving, here are 20 ways to get started:

1. Love the one you're with.

2. Give thanks daily.

3. Listen instead of talking

4. Volunteer your time.

5. Give a larger tip than usual.

6. Look people in the eye.

7. Smile and mean it. 

8. Resist the urge to talk about people

9. Be patient.

10. Give thoughtful gifts.

Flowers for mom photo

11. Surprise the one you love.

12. Send a thank you note.

13. Give a good hug.

14. Pay a sincere compliment.

15. Acknowledge the negative parts of your life.

16. Give your dog an extra long walk.

17. Call a friend that needs to talk.

18. Donate more than you’re comfortable donating.

19. Learn to love yourself.

20. Resist the urge to judge.  

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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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