Changing your attitude about gratitude and thankfulness might be the healthiest choice you make all year.
The dictionary defines gratitude as "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness". At this time of year, it's easy to let the stress of the holidays overwhelm us. So let's call it the practice of feeling and sharing appreciation for the people, events, circumstances, material, and nonmaterial blessings in our lives.
It does so by moving our focus to what we do have rather than what we don't have. We feel more positive, joyful, and aware of the many things in our lives things we might otherwise take for granted were we not practicing gratitude!
Today science is beginning to recognize and document the benefits of gratitude. Some clinical studies have found being grateful increases healing and recovery in our bodies. Being thankful increases the production of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, all proven to create positive mental states and overall physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Practicing gratitude and thankfulness is more than just saying "thank you". Thankfulness and gratitude are an attitude, a feeling of appreciation. That can change our whole approach to life. Many believe that gratitude can relieve our mental and emotional suffering.