Word-Of-the-Week #694: Gratitude

November 23, 2017 by  

Gratitude – a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation.

Today is Thanksgiving and I believe you can never be too thankful! Many of you have a long weekend off of work (and so to not overwhelm you) I am splitting up “Why gratitude is so good” by Arlene Dawson.

The importance of gratitude goes beyond a picture-perfect Thanksgiving tableau. Many experts believe that feeling grateful is also beneficial to your health.

“Gratitude is good medicine,” says Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis and founding editor in chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology. Studies show that practicing gratitude can be used to help lower blood pressure, stop smoking and reduce stress.

Here are her first 5 reasons why it’s beneficial to cultivate an attitude of gratitude year round, not just at Thanksgiving:

  1. Gratitude empowers you – “If we’re so depressed about what’s going on in the world that we can’t act, what does that serve? So part of what we’re trying to do is keep people connected to gratefulness as a source of activism,” says Kristi Nelson, executive director of gratefulness.org, which describes itself as an online sanctuary dedicated to fostering grateful living. “It’s really powerful to steep ourselves in what we’re grateful for and then act to defend, protect and advance that in the world.”
  1. Helps fight addiction – “There’s a lot of belief that addictions come out of spiritual thirst,” says Nelson, citing a principle of 12-step programs. Gratitude can help you positively reframe not just the present but the past and future. “We have seen people have tremendous breakthroughs in valuing their lives and each other and life itself as a result of focusing on what they have to feel grateful for versus what’s missing in their lives.”
  1. Combats the Facebook blues – “In a consumer culture, we’re driven to see what we don’t have, and Facebook, social media, is only making it worse,” Nelson says. “It can feel like we’re all living in some kind of substandard world, that something should be different. That’s a form of suffering as opposed to seeing [that life itself is] a gift.”
  1. Boosts self-control –Gratitude makes people more patient,” says Jeffrey Froh, an associate professor at Hofstra University, referencing the ability to delay gratification. “Future rewards are generally less attractive, but if you’re in a grateful mood you’re more able to wait. If you’re sad or depressed you just want to feel better in the moment, so you eat that whole cheesecake” instead of skipping dessert in favor of your weight-loss goals.
  1. Helps you sleep better – Instead of counting sheep, try counting your blessings. “There are about six good studies now showing that gratitude facilitates better sleep,” Emmons says. Almost every benchmark of good sleep — including duration of sleep and the time it takes to fall asleep — is improved by gratitude.

There are so many reasons why we should all be thankful. This week is all about really being aware and acknowledging that. My message to you is, “I hope you truly appreciate how fortunate you are and that you have a wonderful week giving THANKS!”

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