Happy Thanksgiving! If you’re heading into this holiday season stress-free, you may not be a caregiver. (You may not even be human, for that matter.) The flip side of feasting, visiting, decorating and giving is cleaning, cooking, shopping and family dynamics. When you add all of that to your to-do list which already includes working and caring for an aging relative and quite possibly children, the pressure builds. Give thanks, you say? Just give me wine.
But it turns out, the Pilgrims were on to something. Practicing gratitude reduces stress. University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons told WebMD, “Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress.”
Here’s a quick and simple way to practice gratitude. Set a timer for between 1 and 5 minutes, whatever you can spare, and list all of the things, big and small, you are grateful for. It might be your own health. It might be a strong cup of coffee. It might be chardonnay. It might be the fact Thanksgiving is only a day and not any longer. Don’t edit your list; just say thank you for whatever comes to mind in those few minutes. Try this for a week, and see how you feel. You may be surprised just how much you have to be thankful for.