Giving Thanks Beyond Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks Beyond Thanksgiving

Did you know gratitude is often associated with being a happier person? According to research published by psychologists Dr. Robert Emmons at the University of California and Dr. Michael McCullogh at the University of Miami, people who wrote things they were thankful for each day for 10 weeks, were happier than people who wrote about life’s events in general each day (negative or positive), and the people who wrote about complaints from the day.

How does this research impact you and your family? With a strong correlation between gratitude and happiness, this could be something to incorporate into your daily life and/or family traditions! Here are a few easy ideas:

  • On your road trips this Thanksgiving and during the holiday season travels, take turns going through the alphabet and listing one thing per letter that you’re thankful for.
  • During dinner, have everyone list one thing positive that happened today.
  • In your prayers, whether in your personal prayers, or in your children’s nighttime routine, be sure to list a few things that make you feel blessed.

Making small changes to be more mindful of things that make you feel gratitude could lead to being a happier family overall. In short, extending thanksgiving beyond Thanksgiving could improve your overall attitude (and your family’s attitude!) about life.

SarahAnn Hunt, M.A., LAPC


Emmons RA, et al. “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An
Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well Being in Daily Life,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Feb. 2003): Vol. 84, No. 2, pp. 377–89.