This isn’t another investment scheme to get your money. This is about investing in yourself – and it’s something you control and that helps you and others.
Most people know that gratitude is a good thing, and some express gratitude as often as possible. Others find it easier to be grumpy old men – sometimes without being elderly or male. But the fact is that expressing gratitude can make us healthier.
Did you know that? I didn’t until recently. According to Ocean Robbins, author of “The Neuroscience of Why Gratitude Makes Us Healthier,” negative attitudes are bad for you and authentic gratitude, it turns out, makes you happier and healthier.
Because gratitude is something each of us can control (it’s a choice we make), I think I need to express it more.
I’ve found a good place to start is Robbins’ article, which presents many different studies showing that gratitude had a positive effect – from marriage relationships to depression to neuro-muscular disorders. It seems that those who expressed gratitude – more than those who didn’t – were emotionally uplifted, which, in turn resulted in better health.
One study I found interesting was by Emmons and McCullough. Individuals were placed in three groups and asked to keep a daily journal. One group recorded daily hassles. A second group recorded things that they experienced – both positive and negative. The third group recorded five things they were grateful for. As you might guess, the last group felt better about themselves – a full 25% happier than the hassled group – and they reported fewer health complaints.
Another Emmons study cited in the article showed the effect gratitude has on behavior. The participants wrote down things they were grateful for. As they wrote down these items, they found that they were more helpful and expressed more goodwill towards other people. This reminds me of something I read in Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy, an early writer on the subject of health and gratitude: “Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech.”
What I take away from this collective research is that I need to express more gratitude. If I do, I will most likely benefit by improved health, and others will benefit when I extend a helping hand to those in need.
photo by Cindi Albright