November: A Month of Thankfulness & Facial Hair

By Courtney Stevenson

As I logged in to Facebook on Thursday, November 1, I found myself inundated with the now all-too-familiar November posts regarding “Movember” “Novembeard” and “Daily November Thanks.” This year, however, it caught my eye in a different way.

Hurricane Sandy left a lot of destruction and tragedy, giving everyone affected a legitimate reason to focus on all that was lost. But instead, when I spoke with people or flipped on the news and heard interviews, time and time again, thankfulness was coming out of everyone’s mouths. People were recognizing their loss, but choosing to focus on what they still had.

Positive emotions, like gratitude, contribute to people’s ability to cope and thrive in the midst of adversity, lending them to being more resilient. So isn’t it timely that in the wake of devastation, we enter a month of thanksgiving? Silly as it is, even the facial hair growth trend can be beneficial. Social support and sense of humor are two contributing factors to resiliency. Involvement in “Movember” and “Novembeard” can help people connect, and it gives us all something to smile about.

So yes, November 2012 takes on a whole new meaning. While I’m not advocating for everyone to go a month without shaving, I am challenging us all to be deliberate about seeing what we have instead of what we do not have. How we handle tragedy is up to us. Thinking positively allows us to feel more positive, and positive emotions improve the way we cope during crisis. The November trend of writing daily thanks is simply one way of changing our thinking to change our feeling; it shifts our perspective. Choose to be thankful and see the benefits in your own life.

Benefits of Gratitude:

  • Positive mood
  • Optimism
  • Enthusiasm
  • Resiliency
  • Alertness
  • Determination
  • Goal achievement
  • Greater sense of connectedness
  • Increased helping behaviors
  • Fewer physical complaints
  • More exercise
  • Improved sleep quality
  • More relaxed
  • Increased energy
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