J (1)

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. It is a holiday that is full of traditions, but also is the most dynamic. Every few years, my family decides to adapt a new tradition or make a few tweaks to some family classics. It can be anything from switching up the turkey recipe to sharing this special day with new friends. One true constant is always family.

My fondest memories all contain the people over the food. Though, the food is a close second! My earliest memories were set in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This is where Aubrey, myself and our siblings created our wonderful memories of capturing baby frogs and playing Jurassic Park in the fields. These memories are the base for how Thanksgiving should be. We are a crazy, eclectic bunch who can seamlessly come together and create memories that truly define each of us. From the name tags to Grandpa’s napkin bib, I am so thankful that this holiday exists.

Another reason, this holiday is so great is because it inspires reflection. Starting Nov. 1, social media was buzzing with posts, articles, and photos showcasing what the world is thankful for. Everyone, including the Negative Nancy’s of the world, took time to use #thankful in at least one post. Who better to spark my thanks-piration than one of my favorites: Kate Hudson.

This Instagram post a few weeks ago, inspired me to not only reflect but chronicle the things that I am grateful for. I realized that everyday I am thankful for something different than the day before. But before I started, I took to the web. I was in search for proof of what Kate said in her caption. Can practicing gratitude lead to improved health and a happier life?

These days there is research on everything! Luckily for me, the University of California Berklee has The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC). They have done some great research into the benefits, but also provide suggestions on how to maximize your practice of gratitude.

what strikes me is how keeping a gratitude journal—or perhaps the entire experience of gratitude—is really about forcing ourselves to pay attention to the good things in life we’d otherwise take for granted. (Marsh, 2011)

Even though Kate’s journal looks adorable, electronic journaling seems to be the best option for me. The GGSC developed an electronic gratitude journal that can measure the effectiveness of  gratitude on the happiness and health of the individual. It is called thanx4. It requires the participant to journal every 2 days for 14 days. The greatest part is they will remind you when to post! (great for us forgetful folks!) It will also give you the option to reflect on your day. (Ie. How were you feeling? Did anything exciting happen?) After 2 weeks, you will receive feedback on your progress-Easy as pie!

mmmmm pie.

I have started my journal today. I am excited to see how reflecting every few days will help me live a happier life. I am also challenging myself to give others the opportunity to feel thankful too! So in addition to reflecting, I will go out and do random acts of kindness and do something special for those I am the most thankful for!

Jess (2)


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