Thanksgiving: Health Benefits of Thanks and Giving

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Dr. Nina Radcliff

Grateful. Thanks. Giving.

There is great scientific proof that being grateful is so good for you in oh-so many ways. 

Add to this, studies also underscore that the very act of giving to your family, friends, associates and community boosts your happiness, health, and sense of well-being. Viola! No wonder Thanksgiving containing both – “thanks” and “giving” – just feels so good! A treasured time to take stock of all the positive things in life! 

DR. NINA’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: About the Health Benefits of Thanks and Giving

Feeling good through gratitude and doing good while giving have different approaches even though both generate similar levels of positive emotions and great overall health benefits.

Mental, Physical and Emotional Health Benefits You May Not Know from Thanks and Giving:

  • Both, thankfulness and giving usher in feelings of joy and contentment with life — making you happier. And both have the ability to reduce a multitude of toxic emotions, such as worry, anger, resentment, envy, bitterness and regret.  
  • Strengthens connectivity as your happiness fosters a sense of purpose, niceness and trust—all traits that are profoundly magnetic when making connections and deepening the bonds relationships are built upon
  • Reduced impatience while strengthening the ability to better resist temptation in various areas of life
  • Both virtues improve your life satisfaction, happiness, positive relationships with others, personal growth and a sense of purpose in life as well as stimulating positive emotions that are good for your heart and overall health. These traits also help to decrease and dissipate stress, depression and anxiety–all linked to an increased risk for heart disease, weak immune system, asthma, arthritis, sleep disorders, eating disorders, migraines, chronic anxiety, difficulty concentrating, alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Having a more positive sense at bedtime makes it easier for you to fall asleep. And being well rested after a good night of quality sleep is vital to your body, mind and soul. Sleep is your body’s and mind’s repair mode. Your cells, tissues, muscles, hormones and mind are all replenishing during the deepest phases of sleep – ensuring you are operating at your best the next day and embracing your thankful heart.
  • Gratefulness and giving improves your physical health and ability to cope with pain while helping you to be more physically active, thereby increasing endorphin levels — your body’s natural painkiller.
  • Thanks and giving richly benefit others as it helps people reach and think beyond themselves
  • Both virtues are two of the most therapeutic actions you can do for yourself

Thanks. Giving. Actions: 

  • Start now, start simply: Find the time —to think on the goodness in your life. And too, of special ways you can give.
  • Spend quality time with the people you love — express thanks and look for meaningful ways to give a little extra   
  • Consider journaling what you are grateful for and ways you are giving
  • Recognize new paths and opportunities, as one door closes, another opens
  • Give special thanks to people who provide services at home, at work or in the community 
  • Make a commitment and be mindful to choose to be grateful 

Here are some special quotes I treasure that I hope will inspire you as you count your blessings and live your life in a constant state of gratitude and giving:

  • “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lit the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer
  • “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” — Unknown
  • “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust
  • You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach
  • “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” — Thornton Wilder
  • “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein
  • “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Dr. Nina Radcliff is dedicated to her profession, her patients and her community, at large. She is passionate about sharing truths for healthy, balanced living as well as wise preventive health measures.

She completed medical school and residency training at UCLA and has served on the medical faculty at The University of Pennsylvania. She is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist. Author of more than 200 textbook chapters, research articles, medical opinions, and reviews; she is often called upon by media to speak on medical, fitness, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle topics impacting our lives, today.

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