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Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2015

5 benefits of cultivating an attitude of gratitude

At this time of year, we’re rushed with preparations for the holidays. We have one official day when we say thanks—on Thanksgiving. But how about the other 364 days a year? Do you ever think about all that you have to be grateful for? If you do, both your physical and mental health will benefit. Here are five ways in which you can benefit from gratitude.

  1. study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences in 2012, researchers found that gratitude was strongly linked with better physical health. That appeared to be because grateful people were more likely to take care of their health, engage in healthy activities and seek medical help. Another study found that grateful people slept longer and experienced a better quality of sleep, contributing greatly to their health and well being.
  1. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology in 2004, researchers at the Universities of Rhode Island, Michigan and Pennsylvania found that gratitude and other positive psychological traits were robustly associated with life satisfaction. Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen to us contributes to a positive frame of mind and well-being. Even more important is taking the time to express our thanks. Among character traits such as hope, zest for life, curiosity and love, gratitude scored among the highest in its association with being happy and satisfied with life.
  1. Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, is the leading researcher on the science of gratitude. He has been in the forefront of gratitude research for the past 15 years, says gratitude heals past hurts, energizes grateful people and leads to positive life changes. Looking at life through what Dr. Emmons calls “gratitude glasses,” viewing life as a gift, benefit the most.

 

Being grateful is a choice. Here are four ways you can be be more grateful:

  1. Give thanks to those who have provided you with benefits.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down at least one thing you’re grateful for every day.
  3. Cultivate a positive attitude, even toward negative events in your life. When you’re thinking about these events, try to find a positive lesson, effect or outcome.

 

Check out Dr. Emmons’ website for more suggestions on cultivating gratitude.

 

 

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