Despite the shopping chaos that follows Thanksgiving, celebrating the holiday still comes with many benefits. From getting the family together, to having a (hopefully) healthy meal, and the actual act of being thankful, Thanksgiving can help us de-stress, feel happier and become healthier.
1) Gratitude helps our well being
Being thankful during Thanksgiving is a bit obvious — thank is in the holiday name after all. But sharing a moment of gratitude can easily be forgotten in the throes of meal preparation and social chaos.
However, several studies suggest that seizing opportunities to express thankfulness for the favors and fortunes within our lives improves our mental outlook and physical health — even when we don’t feel there is much to be thankful for.
For example, a 2003 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that daily exercise and creating a list of things you’re grateful for coincides with a happier outlook on life, more supportive social behaviors, and a greater sense of positivity.
Gratitude also correlates with emotional stability after experiencing personal or communal loss. A study by WebMD reports that gratitude can help increase a person’s sense of belonging, and decrease feelings of stress.
Plus, a 2010 study by the University of North Carolina shows that expressing thanks for the “little things” that family members or relationship partners do can increase our happiness and relationship satisfaction, further removing feelings of isolation.
2) Family time can improve our emotional, physical health
Having family and friends over for the holidays can either be a chaotic situation or a lovely one. Which scenario happens depends on who you invite and how well you prepare for their arrival.