Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Giving thanks will make you healthier!

I decided to write this post as I sat in my son's room the other night watching him sleep. Suddenly tears started streaming from my eyes as I expressed to the universe how thankful I was to have this little person in my life. I wasn't sad, or upset, just thankful and so happy! After my emotional outburst, I felt renewed, I felt like I let to whomever responsible for allowing me to experience a love like no other, know just how grateful I am.
Academics have long theorized that expressions of thanks promote health and happiness and give optimism and energy to the downtrodden. Now, the study of gratitude has become a surprisingly exploding field, and research indicates being thankful might help people actually feel better. There’s a catch, however: You have to say thanks more than just once a year. Say thanks for every possible thing you are thankful for! It won't take any challenges you are facing away, but it sure will make them seem less insurmountable.

* In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.

* Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal, and health-based).

* Participants in the daily gratitude condition were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another.

* Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, and optimism, and lower levels of depression and stress. The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions.


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