Thanksgiving Sunrise

On Gratitude

Through difficult times , it can be challenging to live a grateful life.  I know that I struggled with gratitude during some difficult times in my own life.  Years ago I made a decision to change my attitude.  Today I  strive to live in gratitude each and every day.  By paying attention to all the simple daily pleasures, I have been able to sleep better, reduce anxiety, feel less stressed, and generally become happier and healthier.   And this is not just my impression- manifesting gratitude has been shown by years of  research to improve lives across the board.


Gratitude leads to a more fulfilled life:

Robert A. Emmons, a psychologist from the University of California at Davis has been studying personality and the psychology of gratitude for over 30 years.  A study by Dr. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami found that even if you are not a generally grateful person, you can start “training your brain” by keeping a gratitude journal.  Once a week, write briefly about 5 things for which you feel grateful.  Suggestions include a friend’s generosity, something you’ve learned, a sunset you enjoyed.

6 Health Benefits to Practicing Gratitude

    1. Those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
    2. Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to others.
    3. A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison.
    4. Participants practicing daily gratitude were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another, relative to the hassles or social comparison condition.
    5. In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group.
    6. Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008).
Take a step forward today to practice grateful thinking.  Keep a journal of your thoughts for at least a month, and then let me know the differences in your life on our private facebook group.

Would you like to learn more?

Click Here to Listen to Dr. Robert Emmons speak

Live Well, with Gratitude for Every Day!