With Thanksgiving around the corner, it's the perfect time to reflect and show gratitude for everything that we have in life. Studies show that practicing gratitude can result in several health benefits, including increased happiness, less stress, more optimism, and better sleep.
As the holiday season approaches, we’re highlighting the importance of showing gratitude for our health and how to continue making healthy choices. Continue reading to learn our six tips for cultivating a thankful mentality this month (and all year)!
Keep a gratitude journal.
Keeping a gratitude journal allows us to reflect on all the positive aspects of our lives. Make it a daily or weekly practice to write down the positive things you experience. Set a number – three to five things — that you intend to reflect on during each journal entry. Then find a quiet place, grab a notebook and a pen, and start writing!
To avoid distractions, dedicate at least 10 to 15 minutes of your day to reflect in a peaceful setting. Clear your mind of the chaos that life is throwing at you. Instead, focus on the positive and let the words flow right out of you. Before you know it, 10 minutes could turn into 20 minutes. Relax and enjoy the calm for a while; you've earned it.
Take a walk.
Did you know walking has a long list of health benefits, including counteracting weight-promoting genes and reducing the risk of certain cancers? Walking also is linked to the prevention of age-related vision problems such as cataracts. Therefore, you can show your body some love by lacing up your sneakers and heading outside.
Visit the local park or take a stroll around the neighborhood. Savor the cooler fall weather and enjoy the colorful autumn foliage. You can even make it a family affair by going for a walk after your Thanksgiving dinner!
As you walk, remember to be mindful. The mental health benefits of going outdoors and enjoying some fresh air are not to be overlooked.
Share your gratitude for a loved one or a friend.
We wouldn’t be who we are today without the support of our friends and loved ones. Think of someone who has gone above and beyond for you this year. Who has been your greatest support system? Return the favor by expressing gratitude for them and all they’ve done for you. Get creative and share more than a simple “thank you.” A person's heart may be warmed by even the smallest of gestures of gratitude. If you can’t visit them in person, consider sending a meaningful gift or a thoughtful note.
Appreciate the good moments.
No matter what your holiday traditions and plans entail, you may feel overwhelmed trying to prepare for loved ones and guests — which may leave you feeling ungrateful. However, it’s important to remember to enjoy the happy moments even during the busier times in our lives.
This is another example of practicing mindfulness; pay close attention to when you're feeling particularly joyful and thankful and relish in those moments. You will remember such times with joy by taking the time to appreciate them fully.
Change your perspective.
Are you struggling to come up with things you’re grateful for? Try changing your perspective. When you feel your mindset becoming more negative, challenge yourself by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. By doing so, it’s easier to recognize the positives throughout your life — whether that is a happy family, a roof over your head, food on the table, or a paycheck each week.
Keeping a positive outlook can help you remain more present and boost your health and happiness.
And most important- take care of your body.
You can’t show gratitude for your body without making smart, healthy choices! That means getting enough sleep, eating the right foods, and receiving regular wellness exams. It's generally recommended that you schedule your wellness check-ups every one to three years, but once you hit age 40, schedule your appointments more frequently.
You should also show your eyes some gratitude as well. Adults ages 18 to 60 should receive an eye exam every two years and seniors over 60 should receive one annually. If you live in the Greater Boston area, schedule an eye exam with us.
As we near the end of the year, it’s also a great time to use your FSA. Show appreciation to your body by getting much-needed healthcare necessities like medicine and cold treatments, baby supplies, ance and skin care products, contact lenses, sunglasses, and more. Learn about 8 creative ways to use your FSA.
Be thankful for your health this holiday season.
According to researchers, “simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain.” So even during the busiest time of the year, remember to give thanks to not only your family and friends, but to yourself — you deserve it!