November is here, which means it is the perfect time of year to think about what you’re thankful for. Whether it’s your family, experiences, or pets that you’re appreciating, practicing thankfulness for the things in your life can have a positive effect on your own mental & physical health.
What does it mean to be thankful?
Thankfulness can be defined as the recognition and appreciation of the people, opportunities, and physical items that you have in your life. The feelings that are associated with practicing thankfulness can positively impact you, along with the people you interact with day-to-day. Being thankful can mean a lot of things. It can mean thinking positively about your life, showing appreciation to someone you love, or even sharing positive vibes with a random stranger.
When life gets you down, it can become very difficult to feel, or even think of what you should be thankful for. That being said, that’s when it becomes most important to practice your appreciation. Now... that’s not to say it’s an easy thing to do, but we do have some ideas to make it easier for you.
Thankfulness in practice
Like stated earlier, there are a lot of different ways to show you are thankful. It is easy to coast through your day on auto-pilot, throwing out the occasional and polite “thank you.” Though that is always an appreciated gesture, taking it a step further can really increase your impact. Simply wishing the person you’re thanking well, adding a compliment, or engaging in a bit of eye contact can do the trick to make them feel truly appreciated.
Easy, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. We all know how difficult being thankful of others can be on a bad day. That’s why it is important to add thankfulness to your daily routine. But, how do you practice thankfulness in a way that will build up your own confidence and happiness? Throughout all of our leadership training, along with some ideas from Harvard Health Publishing, here’s what we’ve come up with:
Journaling: Each day, make a habit of writing down three things you are thankful for from the previous day (Yes, there’s always something!). Challenge yourself to never repeat the same thing.
Write a thank you note/email: This is another great tool to use daily, or when you need an extra boost of thankfulness. It doesn’t need to be long. You don’t even need to actually give it to the person (though you do get bonus points if you do). Just taking the time to recognize what other’s have done for you can have a positive impact.
Serve others: This may seem contradictive to finding your own thankfulness, but doing things to lift someone else up can also increase your gratification. Going out of your way for someone else can help you recognize the ways people go out of their way for you.
Be positive: Take a day to pay attention to your thoughts and what you say in your typical conversations. Do you find that most of your thoughts are ones that encourage self-growth, or self-depreciation? In conversation, are you finding solutions and taking responsibility, or are you listing off complaints? If you find yourself on the negative end of that spectrum, you can make a huge impact on your life by simply changing your mindset. Catch those negative thoughts and complaints before, during, or as they happen and turn them into something that will benefit your mental health.
How does thankfulness improve your health?
Practicing thankfulness forces you to focus on the good and increases your gratification. Harvard Health, psychologists Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough conducted a 10-week study on gratitude. What they discovered is that the people who spent their time writing about things they were grateful for, “were more optimistic and felt better about their lives” compared to those who spent the 10 weeks focusing on what aggravated them.
So, by simply acknowledging what you’re thankful for each day, you can adapt an optimistic mindset and have more confidence in your day-to-day life. Living life with optimism helps you face challenges, decrease stress, and can improve overall well-being.
Thankfulness at Jam Hops
At Jam Hops, we try to make sure thankfulness is shared throughout our company and community.
Amazeballz: To show our coworkers we are thankful for them, we utilize our Amazeballz program. Whenever we see a coworker doing something amazing, we recognize them with one of our Amazeballz slips that cover the wall of our staff rooms each month.
Kidz of Karacter: Each month we teach the kids in our #Jamily an important character trait. When November rolls around, we teach Thankfulness using our friend Theo the Turkey! Children get to learn what thankfulness is, put it into practice, and even do fun thankfulness group activities. Families can also talk more about thankfulness while completing our thankfulness craft at www.jamhops.com/kidzofkaracter.
Week of Thankfulness: To recognize how thankful we are for our #Jamily, we are celebrating a Week of Thankfulness this November 13th-19th. During the week there will be snacks, crafts, and prize drawings. We can’t wait to see you there!