The science behind the benefits of daily gratitude is becoming too hard to ignore. In his book, Super Genes, Deepak Chopra lists the five most valuable components of optimal health, based on 20 years of studies. In order, they are sleep, meditation, yoga, nutrition, and gratitude.
While the first four on the list may seem obvious when it comes to maintaining good health, the newly documented perks of practicing daily gratitude may lift an eyebrow or two.
Nonetheless, if you buy into this new mind-body doctrine, what better time than Thanksgiving to start focusing on the many aspects of life for which to be truly grateful.
To help you get started, here are some of mine, but naturally, your list may be more subjective. However you slice it, if you feel an inner sensation of elation while you ponder these gifts, there might just be something to this. ; )
If you’re alive, you can appreciate nature. You don’t have to be a “tree-hugger” to receive the benefits of hugging a tree. A tree doles out unconditional love on a daily basis in the form of fresh oxygen and energy. Don’t be shy. Wrap your arms around a tree and see what happens.
#7. (Real) Books
I’m guilty of spending too much time on social media, and you may be as well. Why not trade in your time on Pinterest for a paperback. We may have evolved with staggering advances in technology, but nothing can bring a clearer sense of purpose than the world of literature. Reading a book is a simple act that will never lose its immeasurable impact on our brains and our hearts.
Whether you’re chronically reclusive, a shameless socialite or a closeted introvert, we all enjoy the company of a good friend at times. They offer solace, humour and escape from endless bouts of self-serving introspection. There is nothing like a good friend to laugh with and share life’s everyday joys and oddities. Perhaps the most important aspect of any friend that can make us grateful is their simple choice to want to spend time with us.
Friends offer solace, humour and escape from endless bouts of self-serving introspection.
#5. A Good Movie (Or a bad one…a REALLY bad one)
Movies can be educational, promote valuable insights into how we look at the world, or simply act as a form of escapism for a few hours. There’s nothing like getting away from the drama of your own story so that you can plunge head-first into someone else’s. Personally, I’m most thankful for movies because they offer me something that I lose sight of far too often: perspective.
Food that nourishes, food that’s sinful, food that makes us feel like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. Food isn’t just a necessity; it’s an everyday pleasure that we need not take for granted. The next time you dip lobster tail into hot butter, take a bite of a creamy cupcake, relish in the nourishing effects of a pre-workout smoothie or simply crunch down on crisp apple, be thankful. Food is a miracle. Experience the magic in every morsel.
Food isn’t just a necessity, it’s an everyday pleasure that we need not take for granted.
Don’t have a family? Get one to unofficially adopt you. If you look around, families are everywhere. Even without having your own, you can enjoy the dysfunctional and/or caring company of a friend’s. A mix of both seems likely. And if you DO have a family, embrace their uniqueness—even through the fog of family weirdness, you might just recognize the face of unconditional love.
And if you DO have a family, embrace their uniqueness—even through the fog of family weirdness, you might just recognize the face of unconditional love.
The yoga high is real. We’ve all felt it. By massaging internal organs, optimizing blood flow, accommodating beautifully complex energy principles to dance poetically while shutting down the mind, we calmly reach a state of connection so pure and naturally laced with humility and joy that the only sensation left is gratitude.
My father died of pulmonary fibrosis, a difficult disease that slowly shuts down the lungs. As difficult as it was for our family to watch him struggle to perform what seems like a basic human task, it made me realize that there is no greater gift than a deep inhale and a long, slow exhale.
Breathe, my friends, and be grateful.
Illustrations by Ksenia Sapunkova
Edited by Jaimee Hoefert