First Things First

Give Thanks: It’s Good for You

Each year, it seems like stores decorate earlier in an attempt to get the jump on holiday sales. In October, you can actually look at Halloween costumes, then stroll over to the next aisle to check out the latest in Christmas decorations, candy and gifts.

What happened to Thanksgiving – the holiday between Halloween and Christmas that celebrates things for which we are thankful? Has this important holiday been completely overlooked for money’s sake? Even those who truly love the holiday season would probably agree that things have gotten a bit out of control.

Has the leap from Halloween to Christmas in some way encouraged greed? Have we forgotten to stop and consider all the past year’s blessings?

On Thanksgiving, many will bow their heads to give thanks for their life after severe weather, natural events, unnecessary violence, sickness, etc.

For them and their loved ones, it will be a day to recognize that even if they lost every material thing they own, they have something much more precious: the chance to keep on living life. One woman said, “This kind of experience makes you realize what truly matters. We lost everything, but we still have each other.”

Believe it or not, research shows that giving thanks is good for you.

According to extensive studies by Dr. Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California-Davis, being thankful can improve your physical and emotional health.  It can also strengthen relationships and communities, too.

“Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished,” says Emmons in his book, Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude can make You Happier. “Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. People are moved, opened and humbled through expressions of gratitude.”

Emmons’ more than eight years of research is telling.  It found that people who view life as a gift and consciously acquire an “attitude of gratitude” experience multiple advantages, such as:

So, you might want to think twice before the holiday hoopla steals your chance to gather with loved ones and give thanks!

What will you be most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Some will be thankful for rest and relaxation. Others will appreciate reconnecting with relatives and catching up on all that has taken place in the past year. Many have been too busy to think of what they are thankful for or to whom they owe thanks. Whatever your situation, it’s a great time to reflect and appreciate the people in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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