The “attitude of gratitude,” or gratefulness, can have many benefits including psychological, spiritual and physical — as many studies have revealed. Gratitude is like a fulcrum: once you start feeling grateful, many negative emotions become difficult to maintain and positive experiences start building up. The simple act of feeling grateful can change your whole focus in life!
In 2003, two psychologists, Michael McCollough and Robert Emmons, published a paper establishing their findings from a study on gratitude titled “Counting Blessings versus Burdens.” They asked three different groups of several hundred people to keep a daily journal of things that happened during the day. The first group was told to write down things that happened without any further instruction, the second were told to recount unpleasant experiences and the third were instructed to write down everything they were grateful for daily. The psychologists found that the people who expressed gratitude daily in their journals reported experiencing higher levels of enthusiasm, optimism, determination, energy and alertness. Their attitudes improved, they felt less stress and depression, got more exercise and were more active in helping other people.
Later studies on gratitude by other researchers found that people report many health benefits resulting from a daily practice of gratefulness, including better sleep, less pain, less depression and more energy. They also felt happy and content with their lives. Emmons’ later studies show that practicing gratitude increases a person’s feeling of happiness by about 25 percent.
There are many ways to make gratefulness a daily practice. A lot of people keep a gratitude journal, noting things they find to be grateful for every day. Another is a meditation on the things we take for granted. Imagine losing some of the normal, everyday things in your life: a roof over your head, indoor plumbing, the ability to see or being able to walk. Then, picture regaining these same things you usually take for granted and how that would make you feel.
When someone does something nice for you, sincerely thank them or write them a note expressing your gratitude. Set aside a special jar and call it your gratitude jar: Every time you think of something you’re grateful for, write it down and put it in the jar. Take them out on New Year’s or another special day and read them all for an extra boost of gratefulness.
Looking for vitamins, herbal supplements and other alternatives to help you keep a healthy balance in your life? Check out the thousands of products we sell at iHerb.com. Use Coupon Code WOW123 to get you $10 off any first time order with a $40 minimum purchase or $5 off any first time order less than $40.
Campbell, Polly; Three Ways to Practice Gratitude in 30 Seconds or Less; Psychology Today; accessed November 22, 2013
Mahar, Molly; 9 New Ways to Practice Gratitude; Stratejoy; accessed November 22, 2013
Hibbert, Christina, Dr.; 10 Ways to Practice Gratitude Today! Dr. Christina Hibbert; accessed November 22, 2013
Russell, Helen; How to Start a Gratitude Practice to Change Your Life; Tiny Buddha; accessed November 22, 2013
Fabrega, Marelisa; How Gratitude Can Change Your Life; The Change Blog; accessed November 22, 2013