Thanksgiving. It’s more than just a Fall Holiday. It’s a time for us to pause and reflect. To give thanks for all the blessings and abundance in our lives. To enjoy the company of family, friends and loved ones. To watch lots and lots and lots of football (if you’re into that sort of thing).
Of course, this year, Thanksgiving will look a whole lot different for many of us. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and play out all across our country, there’s likely to be less large family gatherings and sprawling feasts this year. Like everything else in 2020, Thanksgiving will probably look and feel at least a bit different than it typically tends to.
But just because you may not experience Thanksgiving the way you’ve come to know and enjoy it throughout your life, you don’t have to lose the spirit of Thanksgiving in 2020. And we here at Zillion are here to help guide you through a thankful – and grateful – last weekend of the next-to-last month of this very, very challenging year.
Come with us, please. And let’s give thanks. Together.
The Science of Gratitude
Did you know there’s a whole science behind gratitude? Really, there is. And we’re not talking about some fly-by-night, scientifically-suspect, miracle-cure huckster pseudo-science, either. This is real stuff. Backed by real scientific studies.
According to ever-evolving research, people who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for have been found to experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, feel less lonely and isolated, sleep better and openly express more compassion and kindness. They’ve even been found to have stronger immune systems.
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Put It On Paper…
A 2017 study involving close to 300 adults found that people who wrote letters of gratitude reported significantly better mental health at both four- and 12-week periods following their writing exercise. This finding suggests that practicing gratitude my help serve as a sort of “brain trainer” — conditioning your mind be more sensitive to and aware of the experience of gratitude moving forward. Over time, this can contribute to an improved state of mental health. This same study found that gratitude practice can help free people from negative, “toxic” emotions and self-talk. It also revealed (via an fMRI scanner) that gratitude practice can have lasting, long-term benefits on one’s brain, with study participants demonstrating greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex when they experienced gratitude in the fMRI scanner. Some gratitude practitioners even take this a step further…and keep an ongoing, daily gratitude journal.
Stress Reduction. Naturally.
2020 has been nothing if not…stressful. Ongoing brain research has revealed that the regions of the brain associated with gratitude are part of the neural networks that “light up” whenever we experience pleasure and connect socially (something that has been particularly challenging this year). These areas of the brain are also heavily connected to the other parts of the brain that control basic emotion regulation, such as heart rate. These areas of the brain are also associated with stress relief and pain reduction. The bottom line? Feeling truly grateful and accepting and appreciating help from other people results in a more relaxed body state — and allows the subsequent benefits of lower stress levels to embrace, calm and soothe us.
Change: It’s a Constant.
It’s been said that the only constant in life is…change. When we’re comfortable with the way things are, it can be quite challenging to accept changes in life. Even more challenging? Actually feeling grateful for these changes. Turns out, whenever we make it a habit or routine to notice the good things that change bring…we can actually become more accepting and flexible — and less rigid, tight and afraid. This may be one of the more difficult exercises we feature here — but quite possibly also one of the most rewarding and game-changing.
Put Your Mind to It…
University of California, Davis psychology professor and “gratitude researcher” Robert Emmons says that there are two “key components” to practicing gratitude. First, you affirm the good things you’ve received. Second, you acknowledge the role other people play in providing “goodness” in your life. Which brings us into another increasingly popular practice that can help boost your feelings of gratitude and happiness — meditation. In fact, it’s a long-standing practice for Buddhist monks to begin each day with gratitude-focused meditations and chants. In the Buddhist stronghold of Tibet, in fact, monks and nuns even offer prayers of gratitude for the suffering they’ve experienced in life. One particular 2016 study found that gratitude meditation can even increase and enhance feelings of gratitude amongst practitioners. Some gratitude meditation practices also involve keeping a gratitude journal.
We’re Thankful for You
As we reflect upon what we here at Zillion have to be thankful and grateful for during this very challenging 2020, we want to take a moment to say, simply:
To all our customers and partners – and anyone else who might read this blog – we want to thank you for your business, trust and time. We’re truly grateful for the opportunity to provide you with the added security and peace of mind that comes with an insurance policy for your valued jewelry pieces.
We look forward to brighter days ahead. As the calendar turns to 2021, we hope to be celebrating a New Year with you by our side again. If you haven’t already insured your treasured engagement ring, diamond bracelet, gold jewelry or other precious piece, you can get an easy, fast and free quote on our site right now.
Again, thank you. And Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy and stay safe.