Science Reveals the Simplest Way to Be Happy, Just in Time for Thanksgiving


Many things can make us unhappy about Thanksgiving: Biting our lips while Uncle Frank says tells the same unfunny joke, interminable lines at the grocery store or airport or bathroom. But cutting the Debbie Downer act and actually being thankful on Thanksgiving may be good for your health. Who knew?

Scientific studies prove that "gratitude can enhance well-being and improve romantic relationships," according to Fast Company. For example, acute cardiac patients who surrounded themselves in "optimism, kindness and gratitude" recovered more quickly. 

Clinical psychologist Erin Olivio told Fast Company that people who proactively choose to be thankful actually lead fuller lives, too. 

"They have stronger social connections and stronger relationships," she said. "There's some evidence that people who are more optimistic or have a grateful attitude have higher immune functioning."

Olivo says to be a happy person, keep a gratitude journal and try to actively keep a positive attitude, which is something that is controllable. "A lot of times people just think that the way I feel, it just happens to me, but it isn't," she said. "It actually is something that we can choose."

That may sound like a lot of work just to be happy, but the outcome may be worth it. Studies have "linked gratitude to reduced depression and increased personal well being across different measures." Expressing gratitude "consistently corresponds to personal benefits, e.g., balanced moods and better sleep, and heightens our awareness of moral behavior."

Since it's Thanksgiving, try to live up to the name. Your stomach might not feel better, but your mind will.