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Can Giving Thanks Make You Happier?

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Will having an “attitude of gratitude” really make you happier? 

Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for whatever it is you’re thankful for and according to a new USA Today poll, you should be giving thanks every day, because giving thanks can actually have a positive effect on your emotions. Psychologists who conducted the study found that gratitude is one of our most powerful feelings.

A Psych Professor named Robert Emmons studied the effects of gratitude and he says grateful people are more alert, more engaged, more enthusiastic and feel more connected to other people. Three out of four of us from all age groups scored higher in happiness tests if they regularly counted their blessings and some even reported that they slept better.

Appreciating what you have can reduce stress, too. Emmons says grateful people are, “less likely to experience envy, anger, resentment, regret and other unpleasant states that produce stress.” But there is a catch.

You have to be genuinely thankful to see side effects. For example, writing a simple thank you note for a small gift or a nice gesture or saying grace before dinner can also turn around your mood, but only if what you’re saying is truly coming from your heart.

I have a wrought iron sign that hangs in my kitchen and it says “Give Thanks” and a guest one time asked me why I had Thanksgiving decorations up in April. I told them that I woke up in the United States of America with a roof over my head, food to eat, clean water to drink, a car, a job I love, awesome coworkers, friends and loving family. Why should I just be thankful for those wonderful things only one day out of the year? The expression on their face changed as if to say, “Oh yeah.” Then they said, “Maybe I’ll try it.”

Will you try it or are you like me and thankful every day?

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