A simple ‘thanks’ may boost well-being, from the Harvard Mental Health Letter

Before digging into Thanksgiving dinner, it is customary to take a moment to give thanks for the people and events that positively shape our lives. But, as the November 2011 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter reveals, it may be beneficial to express gratitude on a more regular basis.

Research shows that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Reflecting on what one is grateful for results in more positive emotions, greater satisfaction from good experiences, improved health, greater ability to deal with adversity, and stronger relationships.

Editor in Chief Dr. Michael Miller notes that whether someone is thankful for past blessings, present happenings, or is focused on remaining positive for the future, expressing gratitude forces him to refocus on what he has instead of what he lacks. And, while any expression of gratitude is likely to boost morale, like a muscle, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.

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