(Thomas Rutledge/ Psychology Today) — At the risk of disturbing a holiday tradition, let’s take an unbiased look at the current science evaluating the physical health benefits of gratitude.
The holiday season in the U.S. is also the peak season of the year for encouraging and practicing gratitude. Referring to the experience of being thankful or appreciative, gratitude can be experienced as either a fleeting feeling or a more enduring state and includes cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dimensions.
Why is gratitude so strongly associated in the U.S. with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays? This seasonal emphasis seems to originate from several overlapping sources, including Christian religious customs, gratitude traditions inspired by founding Americans such as President George Washington, and the end-of-the-year, indoor family gatherings associated with the fall holidays that provide larger social opportunities for reflection, thankfulness, and acts of generosity. (…)