Thanksgiving is normally a time to gather with family and friends, enjoy a good meal and enjoy each other’s company.  It is also a time to reflect on what we are grateful for.  This seemingly simple act of gratitude has been shown to help boost happiness levels.   As the holiday stress goes into high gear, the practice of gratitude can be an effective tool to ensure a happy holiday season

 What is gratitude? 

The act of appreciating what you have.    Research has shown the act of gratitude to be a very effective way to increase life-satisfaction.

How to practice? 

Any time the feeling of stress begins to elevate, take a few moments to think about everything that you are thankful for.  With practice, the practice of gratitude will become easier and more natural.  Another exercise is to write a letter of gratitude to someone, and then deliver and read it to them personally.

 How does this work?

Authentic happiness is the research focus of Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is the founder of positive psychology, a branch of psychology that focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions.  He has developed the VIA survey of Character Strengths, a tool that rates 24 signature strengths in the individual taking the survey.  Gratitude is one of the signature strengths.   Dr. Seligman has determined that gratitude is one of the top 5 strengths to increase happiness.  The theory is being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen to us are a wonderful way to bring a more positive perspective into your life.

To learn more and take the VIA survey of Character Strengths for yourself, please visit:


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jean
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 10:15:42

    Well said. Thank you for sharing!


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