As we approach Thanksgiving I would like to challenge everyone to take a little bit of this fabulous holiday and try to bring it along with you until this time next year. The possibilities of improving your health by simply adding a little gratitude to each and everyday are well documented. In fact, a study at the University College London revealed that elderly people who were happy with their lives lived up to 20-35 percent longer than their not-so-happy counterparts. The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness.
I am lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful people who understand this concept and was gifted a lovely little sign that I have in my bedroom saying, Greet Each Day With Thanks. My friend, Tera, gave this to me a few years ago and I have it hanging near my bed so it is one of the first things I see when I open my eyes each day. It immediately makes me think of how grateful I am for Tera and her amazing friendship over the past 10+ years and with that thought I spiral on to think of all the other people and things I am grateful for. Some people prefer to use a gratitude notebook or some other practice to ensure they spend a few minutes each day being grateful. However you add this practice into your life you are sure to start to see the ripple effect of feeling more positive emotions throughout your day, being better able to deal with adversity, experiencing overall health improvements and maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude. This leads to stronger relationships and more happiness J
The research is summarized in Robert Emmons’ new book Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier (Houghton Mifflin, 2007). Emmons and his colleagues at the University of California at Davis are among the pioneers in research on gratitude, part of a larger movement called positive psychology. Positive psychology, instead of focusing on illness and emotional problems, studies health-promoting behavior and the pleasurable parts of life.