As late fall starts to snow down upon us, the thanksgiving season has begun. Stores are stocking up on all thanksgiving essentials and the symbol of turkeys is plenty. Similarly, another symbol of Thanksgiving is the cornucopia, the goat horn-shaped woven basket with heaps of fruits, flowers, and corn. This symbol has been added to the seal of different states as well as even the coat of arms of Victoria, Australia. This is because it represents abundance and the wealth of produce. This abundance is something that the pilgrims showed gratitude towards God for the great yearly harvest. Today, most Americans celebrate the holiday by gathering with their family and celebrate being together while giving gratitude to one another.
Gratitude comes from the Latin word, gratia, which means grace, graciousness, and gratefulness. Multiple research studies have shown the immense effect that a simple “thank you” can have on not only the recipient’s mental health but also the giver. Employees that are thanked in the moment stick around longer and even work harder for the company. Additionally, the person regularly practicing gratitude has been shown to experience greater mental wellbeing. Furthermore, it has been shown to improve sleep, enhance relationships, boost happiness, and even motivate an induvial to exercise!
Having gratitude can help relieve stress and pain because it is associated with the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is also associated with heart rate, basic emotion regulation, and stress/pain relief. As a result, showing gratitude results in a more relaxed body state. Moreover, over time, gratitude can improve our health over time. According to Glen Fox, a researcher at the USC Brain and Creativity Institute, this is due it effecting the “µ(mu) opioid” network”, the part of the brain associated with social bonding and stress relief. Lastly, a study done by Indiana University shows that practicing gratitude can help those suffering from depression. Therefore, showing that gratitude can change and “re-write” the brain.
With all these reasons, why wouldn’t you want to go out and spread gratitude to everyone you pass! According to Harvard University, some ways that you can start is by the following:
I’ll start; I am so very grateful for you to have read this article and for the platform I am privileged to have for reaching you.
Fox, Glenn. “What Science Reveals About Gratitude’s Impact on the Brain.” Mindful, 10 June 2019, https://www.mindful.org/what-the-brain-reveals-about-gratitude/.
“In Praise of Gratitude.” Harvard Health, Harvard Medical School, Nov. 2011, https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/in-praise-of-gratitude.
Wong, Joel, and Joshua Brown. “How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain.” Greater Good, UC Berkeley, 6 June 2017, https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain.