As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, many of us begin thinking about the things in our lives which inspire thankfulness. A growing body of research suggests that we’d be wise to make this a daily habit — regularly focusing on and appreciating the positive is related to a higher level of psychological well-being. Linda Wasmer Andrews recently published a compelling article on how grateful thoughts can help you get a better night’s sleep. She cites a recent study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, in which students who wrote in a gratitude journal for 15 minutes every evening worried less at bedtime and slept longer and better afterward. It makes sense that if you cultivate gratitude throughout the day, you’re more likely to have positive thoughts as you drift off to sleep.
One easy way to incorporate gratitude into your life on a daily basis is to take advantage of some of the creative Smartphone applications out there on the market, some of which are free:
Gratitude Journal, by happytapper, prompts you to type five things you’re grateful for each day and allows users to add photos, email entries, rate each day and offers inspirational quotes after each new post.
Gratitude Stream, a free iPhone app, allows you to join a community of users through a global “stream” of positive thoughts and thanks. Thankfulfor, another free app, also allows you to keep a daily private journal or see what everyone else is grateful for in the public gratitude stream. On the thankfulfor website, you’ll find an inspiring assortment of quotes about the benefits of gratitude. I particularly like this one from Melody Beattie: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Every day for the seven days leading up to Thanksgiving, we will post a new blog for the series, Seven Days of Thanksgiving. You can also follow The Imago Center of DC on Facebook and Twitter to get our latest articles directly in your newsfeed.