Being surrounded by loved ones, mashed potatoes, turkeys, pies, gravy boats, and buttery string beans, has become the ultimate setting for Americans to vocalize their thanks. Ancient beliefs and modern medical research agree the route to happiness and health is paved with gratitude. Throughout the course of history, Thanksgiving has become a day reserved to express all the bottled up thanks for the dinner table where family and friends can witness gratitude firsthand.

There are bodies of research to confirm how important it is to exercise gratitude to one another. Two university psychologists found after 10 weeks of their study subjects writing about what they were grateful for, they exhibited huge increases in their happiness scores, were more optimistic, and felt better about their lives. They also reported exercising more and fewer visits to the doctor following the experiment. The second group wrote about daily problems and situations that left them unhappy — it was no surprise they were comparably unhappy.

"If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world's best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system," Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of the division of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center, told ABC News. He added, being thankful shouldn’t be a replacement for medical treatment, but it can improve wellness. Studies have shown measureable, quantitative effects on the body and brain as a result of certain hormones and mood neurotransmitters in the brain. For example, the social bonding hormone known as oxytocin floods the body with euphoria during moments of happiness and feelings of security that can be conjured up by a hug from grandma during the holidays.

Harvard Medical School recommends following six steps to help cultivate gratitude on, not only Thanksgiving, but on a regular basis. Start by writing a thank you note to anyone who has impacted your life big or small, then thank someone mentally and self-reflect on their importance to your happiness. Make it a habit to keep a journal where you can write down or share thoughts about emotional and physical gifts you’ve received. Take time each week to count your blessings and get into the specifics on why they made you happy. It’s also a good time to pray for those who are religious, and for those who are not, meditation can be the key to focusing on peace and gratitude.

Thanksgiving Quotes To Stay Gratuitous Year Round:

1.      “I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite — only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety.” –Henry David Thoreau

2.      “Thankfulness creates gratitude, which generates contentment that causes peace.” –Todd Stocker

3.      “Two kinds of gratitude: the sudden kind we feel for what we take; and the larger kind we feel for what we give.” –Edwin Arlington Robinson

4.      “The funny thing about Thanksgiving, or any big meal, is that you spend 12 hours shopping for it, then go home and cook, chop, braise, and blanch. Then it's gone in 20 minutes and everybody lies around sort of in a sugar coma, and then it takes four hours to clean it up.” –Ted Allen

5.      “We can lift ourselves and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude.” –Thomas S. Monson

6.      “Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” –Maya Angelou

7.      “I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.” –Jon Stewart

8.      “Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.” –Native American saying

9.      “Let’s be grateful for what we have. Let’s be mindful of those who have less. Let’s appreciate those who hold a special place in our lives, and make sure they know it. And let’s think about those who can’t spend the holiday with their loved ones — especially the members of our military serving overseas.” –President Barack Obama

10.  “For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything thy goodness sends. I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

11.  “Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.” –Oprah Winfrey

12.  "Thanksgiving. It proved you had survived another year with its wars, inflation, unemployment, smog, presidents. It was a grand neurotic gathering of clans: loud drunks, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, screaming children, would-be suicides. And don't forget indigestion. I wasn't different from anyone else: There sat the 18-pound bird on my sink, dead, plucked, totally disemboweled. Iris would roast it for me." –Charles Bukowski

13.  “There are things you do because they feel right and they may make no sense and they may make no money and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other and to eat each other’s cooking and say it was good.” –Brian Andreas

14.  “It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” –Naomi Williams

15.  “If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” –Harold Kushner

16.  “It was November — the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines.” –L.M. Montgomery

17.  “We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.” –Neal A. Maxwell

18.  “Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes. Half-times take 12 minutes. This is not coincidence.” –Erma Bombeck

19.  “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” –William Arthur Ward

20.  “Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.” –Julia Child