It’s hard to be thankful sometimes. And I have to admit, I am not very good at it. Right now my back hurts and my stomach hurts and my kids are bored. It feels like all the news is bad — people hurting and dying and worried about their jobs. Other people are protesting because of racial injustice. Other people are hiding at home afraid of the virus. If you are like me, it’s easy to get stressed and overwhelmed and feel helpless.
But did you know that taking time every day to be thankful can actually make you happier?
Researchers at the University of Miami studied two groups of people for 10 weeks. They had everyone in one group write down the things they were thankful for every day. Everyone in another group wrote down the things that made them mad or angry. Do you know what the researchers found? Not only was the group that wrote down things they were thankful for more happy, but they also were more physically active and went to the doctor less.
Another researcher, at the University of Pennsylvania, did a study that found when people thanked other people, it made them happier. The Harvard Medical Review explained that when participants in the study were asked to “write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores.”
That’s a very cool thing to remember. Just being nice and thanking someone else can make you happy and them happy. It’s a two-for-one deal.
One of my friends is a comedian named Josh Gondleman. One day he was feeling really sad, and he thought maybe other people were feeling sad too. So he posted on Twitter that if anyone needed a pep talk, anyone at all, he’d give them one. Now Josh gives pep talks on social media regularly, and it’s always a reminder that helping other people helps everyone.
In this coronavirus time, I’m trying to be more thankful for all the good things in my life. My good friends who text me and answer my Zoom calls. My kids who tell amazing fart jokes. For my job, which is my dream job. I can also vote and use my voice to change the world for the better. I’ve also been trying to leave thank you notes for the mail person who keeps delivering my mail and thanking the people who work with me for having patience when I’m overwhelmed.
It can be hard, but why not take some today to thank someone? Here are some people in your life who could really use thanking:
• Your parents or the adults in your life who take care of you
• The mail carriers who bring you your mail
• People protesting to protect your rights
• Your teachers who had to teach in a pandemic
• Grandparents who you might not have seen in a very long time
• Doctors and nurses
• People who work in grocery stores and restaurants
• People who work in food service
• Truck drivers
• Your brother or sister, who you can thank for still playing with you through all of this
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Feel free to use our template for your thank you card or make one of your own. Who and what are you grateful for?