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What are you grateful for?

Thanksgiving is a day for being grateful—and today, I’ll tell you why counting your blessings makes you happier and healthier.

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What are you grateful for?

Written by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci

Everyone tells you to be grateful at Thanksgiving time. But let’s admit it: Sometimes you just don’t feel like it, do you?

And believe me—I get it. I find it all too easy to fall into the habit of dwelling on things that don’t make me feel grateful: An unexpected car repair bill. A traffic jam when I’m late to work. Or that woman who blocks the entire grocery store aisle while she spends ten minutes deciding which toilet paper she wants. (Get a life, lady!)

But here’s the thing. Gratitude is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the more powerful it becomes. And being grateful doesn’t just make other people happy—it makes you happy, too! That’s because it focuses your attention on the positive things in your life, not the negative ones.

How powerful is this effect? In one study, researchers asked one group of people to make a weekly list of things they felt grateful for, and asked another group to list neutral events or things that bothered them. Ten weeks later, at the end of the study, the people who listed things that made them grateful said they felt greater life satisfaction than the other participants. They also had fewer health complaints and exercised more.

No matter how rushed I am, I make it a point to spend at least a few minutes each morning mentally listing the things I’m grateful for. And you know what? It turns out to be a really, really, really long list. When I realize just how many good things there are in my life, it puts even my biggest problems in perspective.

To make gratitude a big part of your own life, consciously practice it every day. And don’t just think about the obvious stuff that you’re thankful for. Think about the little stuff, too—like your favorite song, a sunny day, or the new shoes you just got on sale. (Seriously… what would life be without fabulous shoes—and shoe sales?)

And while we’re on the topic of gratitude, here’s something to put at the top of your list: good, clean, real food. I’m thankful every day—not just on Thanksgiving Day—that I’m able to fill my kitchen with food that tastes fantastic and keeps me and my kiddos healthy. For instance, here’s a healthy dessert recipe from my new book, Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet, that will be gracing my holiday table this year:

Poached Pears
Prep Time: 10 minutes • Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 servings

  • 2 firm pears
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or almond extrac
  • inch of your favorite spice: ground nutmeg, ginger, or cinnamon (optional)

Peel, halve, and core the pears. Put in a skillet, cut side up, with the water. Add the vanilla or almond extract. Add the spices, if using. Cover and heat over medium-high heat until the water begins to simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pears are tender. To serve, top with the poaching juices.

Note: Very firm pears are better for poaching. My all-time favorite is Bosc.

I hope this recipe makes your sweet tooth happy. And more importantly, I hope you know how incredibly thankful I am for my wonderful online community of friends. Believe me when I say that you’re on my “grateful” list every single day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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