Give Thanks This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to consider all the good things and accomplishments in your life and to reflect on how grateful you really are.

We asked you what you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving – and it turns out your hearts are full of gratitude for family, friends, food and traditions.

And good news: Being thankful is good for you.

“Gratitude is very strongly associated with happiness and well-being, both physical and psychological wellbeing,” says psychology professor Rhonda Swickert.

To get the most out of the Thanksgiving spirit, Swickert recommends focusing more on people than things when you’re going around the dinner table with your family to share what you’re thankful for. That means you’re going to have to get in touch with your softer side for a minute.

“We can be reluctant to have a very heartfelt conversation with people about how much they mean to us because it makes us feel vulnerable,” says Swickert. But it’s worth the effort. “It generally ends up creating a stronger connection between both parties, and strongly contributes to one’s level of happiness.”

Even better: Having positive connections in your life can have a compounding effect.

“Literature shows people who are more grateful received more help from others and were likely to give more help,” says Swickert. “It becomes this upward spiral of positivity.”

So, whether you’re eating turkey or tofurkey, spending time at home or at a restaurant, watching football or CofC men’s basketball take on Wake Forest, take a moment to appreciate the faces around the table. Happy Thanksgiving, Cougars!