Angelina Jolie takes her children out of the country during the Thanksgiving Holidays
as she finds what the pilgrims did to the Indians offensive.
I cannot blame her:
But she is missing the point behind Thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving may be the only major American holiday focused on giving thanks for all of life's blessings,
but gratitude isn't just a good excuse for chowing down on turkey and pumpkin pie;
it's also a way to promote good mental and physical health.
Gratitude can improve your sense of well-being and fight depression ...
unless you really hate your in-laws who are visiting or they hate you!
Grateful people engage in more exercise,
have better dietary behaviors,
are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol,
and have higher rates of medication adherence.
A feeling of thankfulness for the positive things in your life
can improve your sleep and lengthen its duration --
likely in part because you are consumed with fewer negative thoughts,
and more pleasant thoughts as you drift off at night.
People who report more gratitude also show better cholesterol levels and blood pressure numbers.
A key to the effect, however, is that it must be other-focused.
In a paper published in June 2014 in the Journal of Positive Psychology, Dr.Watkins and his colleagues
showed that keeping a diary of three blessings worked much better to boost happiness
than recalling three times when a person felt a sense of pride in his or her own accomplishments.
"What we believe is happening is that the habit of gratitude
makes people look for the good in their life more, so it trains their attention towards more good things."
Gratitude is linked to optimism, which in turn, is linked to a boost to your immune system.
And during this flu season, making each day Thanksgiving could spare you sore throats, coughs, and trips to the doctor.
Gratitude is a gift that you can daily give yourself and your body.