Sunday, March 4, 2012

Goodness of Gratitude: 7 Awesome Benefits!

Feeling and expressing gratitude -- SO many BENEFITS!

Really, much research has gone into studying this effect which everyone has experienced before.  That warm fuzzy FEELING you get after telling someone thank you for helping you when your car was stuck in the snow or your plumbing disaster was repaired.  This reminds me of another interesting concept -- the GOOD of DOING GOOD -- to be discussed another day :)

For ages, GRATITUDE has been a virtue within religion and spirituality.  Only recently has science in general, and the study of positive psychology specifically, become interested in the topic of gratitude.

It is exciting to learn that something as simple as saying, writing, and especially believing "thank you" could be so beneficial to YOUR health and happiness!

Gratitude Benefits (these are just a few!)

  • Increased EXERCISE regularity
  • Improved OUTLOOK on life as a whole
  • Increased optimism (Emmons & McCullough, 2003)
  • Improved progress toward health, academic, and interpersonal GOALS (for more on SMART goal setting click HERE!)
  • In some populations, better SLEEP duration and quality
  • In CHILDREN, better attitudes about SCHOOL and FAMILY (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008).

How Can YOU Practice Gratitude?

As you may know, in preparation for Thanksgiving last year, I decided to write a post on my personal Facebook page describing what I was thankful for each day until the holiday.  I enjoyed this practice so well that I continued as a countdown to the end of the year of 2011.  As you might now guess, this has become a well-ingrained habit in my life that I cannot actually imagine going without.

At first, it took a bit of effort to remember to do this.  But with practice, it has become natural to write my gratitude post each day.

Gratitude journals have worked well for me in the past also. Keeping my journal by the bed helped me to remember the practice. As I reflect on my day before going to sleep each night. This method lends itself to being more intimate in your entries.

Thank you notes are also a great way to express gratitude! This might seem obvious, but besides thanking someone for a gift or favor, you can thank them for other sorts of things like being a great teacher, mailman, aunt, someone special in your life!

Thank you notes can come at any time -- it's never too late! They also don't have to be really long, just put some meaning into it.

I AM SO VERY GRATEFUL TO YOU, MY READERS, for taking the time to read my posts, try new foods, recipes, exercises, and other things that I suggest! I appreciate your open-mindedness, suggestions, and support! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

COMMENTS: What are you grateful for right now? It feels good to share!

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