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How to stay grateful during these holidays

"Although it’s nice to count your blessings this holiday season, being grateful throughout the year could have tremendous benefits on your quality of life."

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Charlie Perkins (Contributed photo)

It’s that time of year when many of us begin thinking about things we’re grateful for. The season of gift-giving, exchanging holiday greetings, and families uniting. Especially in a year of a pandemic.

Although it’s nice to count your blessings this holiday season, being grateful throughout the year could have tremendous benefits on your quality of life. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience. Gratitude opens your mind & spirit to ultimately find solutions or direction.

Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous. Research reveals gratitude can have these seven benefits:

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  1. Opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends.
  2. Improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people. 
  3. Improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret.
  4. Enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kindly.   
  5. Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep.  Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer. 
  6. Improves self-esteem. Gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs – which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem- grateful people can appreciate other people’s accomplishments. 
  7. Increases mental strength. Research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma.  

We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve.
Learn how to practice gratitude in this week's "Wisdom with Charlie" podcast. You'll be glad you did.

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About Charlie Perkins

Charlie Perkins is an author, musician, photographer, and videographer based in Rochester. The Chicago-bred Perkins attended Northwestern University concentrating on Radio, TV Broadcasting, and Interpersonal Communications. He spent 29 years at Harris Bank in Chicago and taught “Principles of Corporate Television” Columbia College in the same city. He has also spent 17 years as Unit Manager, Media Support Services for the Mayo Clinic. In a previous life, he covered the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan’s championship run, ’96-‘98 as a freelance photographer.

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