November is associated with Thanksgiving. And while Turkey Day is an occasion for the three Fs—family, feasting, and football—as a holiday, it gets the short shrift. It’s nestled between Halloween and Christmas, both of which are money-making machines for industry. But alas, there’s not much money to be made in gratitude.

However, gratitude and thankfulness are objectively good for you. Sure, there are plenty of blogs and wellness gurus who talk about gratitude. Religious traditions almost universally espouse thankfulness as a virtue. But did you know there’s actually science behind the ability of gratitude to rewire your brain and change the way you experience life?

A great article from Berkeley School of Medicine summarizes the research. Here’s what they found:

  1. Gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotions.
  2. Gratitude helps even if you don’t share it.
  3. Gratitude’s benefits take time.
  4. Gratitude’s benefits take time.

So what can you do to benefit from gratitude during this season of Thanksgiving and beyond?


Write it out

Whether you’re a regular journal writer or you just write something on a sticky note or dry erase board, write down something you’re grateful for every day. As a bonus, if someone is the object of your gratitude, drop them a handwritten note or an email. Then two people will benefit from your gratitude.


Say it out loud

It may seem a little weird at first, but when you can speak aloud the things you’re thankful for, you’ll find yourself freed from fear. Mind you, it takes practice, but it’s worth it. Try doing it a home before you start expressing your gratitude in public places like a coffee shop or grocery store.


Redirect your thoughts

It’s relatively easy to sit down and write out something for which you’re appreciative. It’s a little harder (at first) to speak it out loud, even if you’re home alone. But we all know the biggest challenge we’ll face is when our thoughts turn dark. To focus on a tragedy or a perceived injustice can cloud your frame of mind. In those moments, and without minimizing the pain of the situation, find something you can be grateful for and acknowledge that. In fact, if you want to operate at a pro level, write down what you’re thankful for and then speak it out loud.


As the team at Berkeley observed, the benefits of gratitude take time. It’s a habit that must be developed. Or if you will, it’s a muscle that must be used. We hope you’ll exercise your thankfulness muscle this month and beyond.