As you sit down to your Thanksgiving meal this year, many of you will give thanks. The form of this gratitude will vary by your religious beliefs, family customs, and others’ patience to get to the heart of the eating occasion. The beginning of the meal may be marked by a prayer passed down across generations led by the eldest member of the family or an informal lighting of candles at the table. Some families have a tradition to go around the table and share what they are most thankful for over the past year. Whatever the ritual, it is a sign of gratitude, and its benefits go beyond the dinner table.
We know the Norman Rockwell images of Thanksgiving dinners where everyone is happy and anticipating the perfectly browned turkey—and no dish has been burned or forgotten. But do we have images of gratitude that sustain us through the stressful holiday season? Several studies indicate that experiencing gratitude is related to important health outcomes and is an important aspect of parenting. Drawing from positive psychology, researchers have found that adults who express more gratitude in their daily lives are less likely to be depressed, are happier, and may even…
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