It's the fourth Thursday in November again. The day when millions of people in the United States sit down to consume massive amounts of tender turkey, savory stuffing, fluffy potatoes and, of course, one too many slices of pie. Don't you just love Thanksgiving?
Despite the fun of eating our weight in food, the true meaning of Thanksgiving to express our gratitude. And, believe it or not, giving thanks is good for you! Here are some reasons why:
Improves Overall Health
Counting your blessings won't just earn you brownie points with the Big Guy upstairs, it actually decreases stress, lowers your blood pressure and gives you a much needed energy boost.
Bonds People Together
U.S. psychologists, Sara Algoe and Baldwin Way, conducted research, which shows that gratitude also can lead to better relationships. Basically, giving thanks increases levels of oxytocin, the "bonding hormone," and thus stimulates calm and security in relationships.
Calling All Adults...Helps Your Heart and Waistline?
According to Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis, and author of Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity, "people with high blood pressure who actively express thankfulness can achieve up to a 10 percent reduction in systolic blood pressure and decrease their dietary fat intake by up to 20 percent.”
Teaching kids to be thankful is of the utmost importance, and the benefits they will gain from it will last longer than your leftovers.
In an article in Parents Magazine, Christine Carter Ph.D.,author of Raising Happiness and the director of the Greater Good Parents program at the University of California at Berkeley, states, "Pioneering social scientists think that 40 percent of our happiness comes from intentional, chosen activities throughout the day. Thankfulness is not a fixed trait. It's a skill that can be cultivated, like kicking a soccer ball or speaking French."
To teach the art of gratitude at the Youth Center, we had our members write cards of appreciation to anyone that they are thankful to have in their lives. This activity called on them to appreciate the small moments in life and, while we crafted, it was an opportunity to share something positive that happened in school, home or the center itself. We had a fantastic time.
I am so very thankful for all the children that we serve. You guys make my days brighter and constantly keep me on my toes. I truly love seeing all of you walk through our doors each day. Thank you for being you!
Have an amazing turkey day!!