LINCOLN - It turns out there is something to this whole practice of giving thanks.
A professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln says the scientific evidence keeps piling up about how gratitude benefits a person’s wellbeing.
Michael Scheel, a licensed counseling psychologist, suggests that during your Thanksgiving gathering you incorporate traditions which emphasize gratitude.
“Which helps people around you feel good, but also you get something back for it, you feel good about it and it helps you savor those emotions, those feelings that come with gratitude,” Scheel tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Scheel is the author of the book Goal Focused Positive Psychology: A Strengths-Based Approach.
The tendency of most of us, according to Scheel, is to focus on the negative; the problems, the struggles, the everyday difficulties of life. It takes effort and sometimes a bit of a nudge to get people to focus on the positive, on the blessings in their lives.
Scheel says he actually leads students through gratitude exercises during class, which he says are the easiest exercises to practice. Scheel says gratitude helps people savor the people and things around you. It opens people up to new experiences and can even help overcome depression.
Scheel says gratitude is a universal value.
“It’s not a foreign kind of concept,” Scheel says. “So, I think, just asking people to think about something that they’re grateful for and then express that gratitude really can be a very healing and a just a very beneficial act for individuals on Thanksgiving and other days, too.”