Sure, we’re grateful for some time off of work and an excuse to eat our weight in Turkey, pie, and bread—but there are so many other things we can and should be thankful for! Especially those which do some good for our overall wellbeing, from spending time with good friends to taking a much-needed nap. Here are 15 of those things that we should say thanks for this Thanksgiving:
1) Your health
We all suffer from the common cold every now and then, while others deal with more serious mental illnesses—in either case, the more we think about and prioritize our health, the better we will feel. So, be thankful you’re alive today and continue to take care of yourself!
2) Your pup
Be grateful for your pup because research shows that they work wonders for your health! One study found that pet owners were more confident, less fearful and lonely, and more physically fit.
3) Awesome friends
Your close friendships are something to be thankful for—not only is it nice to have them for Netflix binge-watching sessions and random ice cream runs, but maintaining these relationships is extremely beneficial to our physiological health. They decrease stress levels and improve our cardiovascular functioning, among other amazing benefits.
4) Your family
Like your friendships, strong relationships with family members are great for your overall wellbeing and serve as a buffer during rough times.
Say thanks for your morning cup of coffee, as this stuff has some amazing health benefits: it protects you against type 2 diabetes, improves mental performance, reduces your risk of developing a deadly cardiovascular disease, and can make you overall much happier.
6) Good food
A study from the journal of Psychological Science found that eating comfort foods can improve your mood, sense of well-being, and also decrease loneliness. So if you were looking for a good reason to chow down on endless pie and potatoes, here it is!
7) Your favorite music
Simply put, music is a superpower—research shows that it can stimulate our body’s natural “feel-good chemicals” (endorphins), improve our mood, and help us better manage stress.
8) A runner’s high
A runner’s high refers to the euphoria one feels from running—and it is a real phenomenon, indeed. People report feeling invincible and incredibly satisfied; some even experience a reduced state of pain or discomfort and a loss in sense of time.
9) Or rush from any workout
Not a big fan of running? No problem—any form of exercise can do your wellbeing and health some good. In fact, just one hour of exercise a week can fight off the debilitating and widespread mental illness that is depression. Thank you exercise gods for these benefits!
10) A good laugh
Research has shown that laughter boosts the release of beta endorphins (which alleviate depression), helps you de-stress, and increases your pain tolerance. Be thankful for this excuse to watch The Office all day long.
11) The holidays
Be thankful for the holidays just around the corner! As they bring your friends and family together, and give you the opportunity to reap all of those previously mentioned benefits of maintaining close relationships.
12) A really great nap
According to the National Sleep Foundation, naps can enhance performance, restore alertness, reduce mistakes, and provide necessary means of relaxation! (As if you needed another reason to be thankful for naps.)
It’s heavenly and beneficial to your health! Multiple studies have found that chocolate lowers cholesterol, may prevent memory decline, and lower the risk of developing heart disease. Now go break a piece off of that KitKat bar and appreciate the chocolatey goodness.
14) The great outdoors
A multitude of studies have shown that simply immersing yourself in nature can offer amazing health benefits. One of these studies, which is published in Environmental Science & Technology, found that just 5 minutes of activity in nature led to improved self-esteem and mood.
15) Great memories
Nostalgia is truly magical—whether you’re reminiscing on a drive home from work, looking through old photo albums, or catching up with some old friends. Multiple studies show that reflecting on past memories can increase feelings of optimism and boost self-continuity. And what better day to break out the photo albums than Thanksgiving?