Acknowledging what we’re grateful for makes us feel better.
Taking a moment to step back and think about the things in your life that you are thankful will actually make you happier, according to Harvard Medical School.
Two psychologists at the University of Miami conducted a study about gratitude in which they split the participants into two sections. Over the course of the week, one group was tasked with writing down the things they were grateful for, while the other wrote down all the things that annoyed them or pissed them off. A third group, the control group, just wrote about what happened to them without including any emotions.
After two and half months of this routine, the group that wrote about the things they were thankful for reported feeling happier and more optimistic. They also went to the doctor less and exercised more than the people who wrote about the negative aspects of their days.
Other studies have found that showing gratitude to your colleagues can inspire them to be more industrious, including research from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania that found that of two groups who were doing fundraising calls for the university, the volunteers that got a message of thanks from their supervisor made 50 percent more phone calls than those who did not. So even if you think you don’t have time for it — between your pre-holiday work deadlines, cooking, cleaning and mitigating any potential familial discord — we promise, whether you write a thank you note, start a gratitude journal or just say thanks to the person that held the elevator, you’ll feel better.