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The Benefits and Limits of Gratitude

One of the greatest things about Thanksgiving is how American it is, in the best sense of the word. Americans of every stripe and background can celebrate the opportunity to express gratitude. And they can enjoy accompanying that gratitude with feasting — whether it’s the classic spread of turkey, stuffing, gravy, root vegetables, and pie, or a blend of the traditional menu with the foods of their country of origin, creating an innovative, tasty fusion of old and new cultures.

I’m a real fan of gratitude. Studies show that grateful people have more robust immune systems, sleep more soundly, and have better psychological health. They develop both greater self-esteem and more empathy. Their friendships and marriages tend to be stronger. And at work, their decision-making and productivity are shown to be more effective.

Gratitude is powerful! If you’d like some suggestions for enhancing yours, here are a couple of posts from earlier Thanksgivings to help you do that:

But this Thanksgiving, feeling gratitude alone is not enough. This is not a time to turn inward and ignore what’s happening outside our homes and families. Given the divisions that have recently been made so apparent in our country, this is a time to take action and remember those who have less, as well as those who are feeling afraid and marginalized. If you’re interested in identifying local, national, or international groups where you might donate or become active, I would be happy to give you suggestions.

And let me say how grateful I am, even in these confused and confusing times, for you, my readers. I wish all the best to you and your families, with hope that we will once again, and soon, become one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Onward and upward,


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