Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've decided to sit down and write out a few things I'm thankful for. I'd like to say that this decision is 'in light if the holiday', because it should be, but to be honest, it's not. It's due to reading studies that have found the effects of grattitude extend far beyond previously thought. (see the rest of this post for more details by clicking the link in the title)

So, with those studies in mind, and the holiday as inspiration, here are five things (in no particular order) that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:

1) Being able to spend the holiday with my grandparents - especially so because I can share them with Barry, whose grandparents died when he was young. I am so lucky to still have my grandparents in my life.

2) My life, in general. I live in a privileged society, get to eat delicious food, have a wonderful family, and share my days with an amazing man, an adorable dog, and mischievously perfect cat. I love my job and living in Florida. Could I ask for more?

3) Dave Salmoni, Mike Rowe, The Crew of the Northwestern, and just about everyone associated with Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and Science Channel. Did I mention I'm a total nerd?

4) Thanksgiving Food. Ok, c'mon now - don't pretend like you haven't been waiting all year for it. I know my grandparents are going to have a FEAST waiting for me on the other side of Florida - I can't wait! Though, I guess I should just say 'Food' in general... I really love food. I could go for some nice sashimi or a perfectly cooked filet right about now... mmm.... or some fondue... OK, I have to stop.

5) Everyone who is reading this! It makes me feel special to look at my site stats and know that someone out there actually reads what I write - you know, all twelve of you :)

So go out there, eat up, and don't forget to think about what you're thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

For one, being more thankful helps motivate you, especially to exercise. In 2003, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published a study which found people who kept weekly gratitude journals exercised an hour and a half per week longer than their counterparts who wrote about the un-sunny side of life. The thankful participants also reported feeling more enthusiastic and determined. Daily journals did even more for the participants.

A new study out of Kent State also found that being grateful has its advantages. The researchers had students write one letter every two weeks with the simple ground rules that it had to be positively expressive, required some insight and reflection, were nontrivial and contained a high level of appreciation or gratitude. After each letter, students completed a survey to gauge their moods, satisfaction with life and feelings of gratitude and happiness - all of which increased after each letter. So the more they wrote, the happier they were.