Certain times of the year seem to prompt us to be just a bit more grateful, to show our appreciation for others, to step outside of ourselves.

That’s great. But shouldn’t we practice gratefulness all year long?

The simple answer is yes. And here’s why:

Better emotional health. People who show gratitude are less likely to feel depressed. Making an effort to show gratitude can make you feel better about yourself and improve your self-esteem.
Better physical health. Expressing gratitude actually helps lower your levels of negative stress. You’ll also find that you sleep better. And you’ll feel more energetic – which means that you are more likely to exercise!
Better social health. A social life is important for both your mental and physical well-being. A person who is grateful is more likely to interact with others, and this social interaction will reduce your stress and improve your sense of well-being. As an added bonus, when you show gratitude to others, you also make them feel better.

49554342 - i am grateful for today written on old piece of paperHow can you show that you are grateful?

Count your blessings. Out loud, in your head, in a journal, to a friend, to yourself.
Say thank you. Tell others that you appreciate them, their efforts, their work, etc.
Give back. You can give money. But you can also give your time. Volunteer to read at your child’s school. Pick up trash at a local park. Rake leaves, shovel snow or mow the grass for your neighbour. Deliver meals to homebound neighbours.

No matter how you choose to show your gratitude, do choose to take the time to be grateful – and do it all year long. A spirit of gratitude should be our goal every day.

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