Word-Of-the-Week #694: Gratitude

November 23, 2017 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #694: Gratitude 

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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Word Of the Week #539: Gratitude

December 4, 2014 by · Comments Off on Word Of the Week #539: Gratitude 

Gratitude – a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation.

How often do you feel a sense of gratitude? Are you thankful for what you have? Do you appreciate your life and the people in it?

Last week the San Diego UT ran this article by Erinn Hutkin titled, Gratitude has positive effects on health.” She writes, “For many families, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on and share what they are grateful for. Those good feelings that are often shared during the holidays can have a positive impact on one’s health – especially when people recognize what they’re grateful for year round.

Gratitude is a “Velcro” for all sorts of good things in life – emotional, relational, physical, and spiritual,” says Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis and the author of “Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity.”

He ran a study where participants kept a list of a few things they were grateful for and found they tended to exercise more, had more energy and vitality, and were less bothered by pain. He also said grateful people sleep 30 minutes more each night and exercise 33% more each week.

a gratit

There are also links between gratitude and cholesterol, blood pressure and other biomarkers. In addition, in Emmons’ study, those who kept track of their blessings reported greater well-being and optimism. They also had more attentiveness, enthusiasm, and determination.

Emmons’ goes on to say, “Gratitude is an affirmation of the goodness in one’s life and the recognition that the sources of the goodness lie at least partially outside of the self. Virtually any experience can potentially produce gratitude. That’s partly want gives it its power. Gratitude boosts a person’s positive emotions because it’s incompatible with many feelings that increase worry and anxiety. You cannot be grateful and envious, or grateful and resentful, or grateful while harboring regrets.

Gratitude can also help us when life challenges us. When things are going badly, it provides a perspective by which we can view life in its entirety, and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances.

This week is all about gratitude! Would you like to have more energy and/or better health? Would you like to feel closer and more connected to the people in your life? Have you ever written a list of the things you’re grateful for? How many people have you told, “I am so thankful you are in my life?”

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WOW Word-Of-the-Week #332: Gratitude

December 13, 2010 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #332: Gratitude 

Gratitude – a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation.

How often do you feel a sense of gratitude? Are you thankful for what you have? Do you appreciate your life and the people in it?

Elizabeth Edwards

This week it was announced that Elizabeth Edward’s doctors told her that it would be unproductive to continue her cancer treatments. She was told she may have up to a couple of months of life left.

She issued this statement on her Facebook page. “The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world. The days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.”

“It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel towards everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.”

The following day Elizabeth passed. It made me feel sad because she was just too young to die. It also brought up memories of my good friend Dixie who used to say, “You just never know when your time will be up. You could step off a curb and get hit by a bus.” Dixie died in 2006 from a very fast and aggressive form of cancer. I don’t want to be morbid, but we are all going to die. We just don’t know when.

This week focus on feeling gratitude. Do the Holidays typically cause you to feel stress? Is it a challenge to spend time with some family members? If you had only a couple of months of life left would you feel differently?

Reader Responses

“She was a great woman and I felt sad too.” – Elaine

“I find the importance of gratitude every single day of my life. WE ARE HERE, Susan. We can make a difference in other people’s lives with an attitude of gratitude. These last few days have offered me great examples. On Saturday, I took my father-in-law and his cousin for a leisurely lunch at a very nice restaurant in Milwaukee, WI, and afterward we watched the Marquette-Wisconsin basketball game. The lunch, the game tickets were all on me. I wanted to treat my father-in-law for all that he and his wife do for our two girls, especially baby-sitting. And there are not a lot of opportunities when he can catch up with his cousin, who is about 15 years younger than he is. The gratitude went both ways on Saturday. Yesterday I was in the Milwaukee area once again for a wake. While there were warnings about the weather on Wisconsin’s roads, I was able to make my way up safely and pay my respects to a former Marquette basketball coach and his family. The coach was always very welcoming and gracious to me during my lifetime. I wanted to show my gratitud to his widow and family. Because our days our numbered here, we have to make the most of them and show gratitude to those we love. The last two nights, my two-year-old wanted my attention when she was put to bed. So, I held her and talked to her until she fell asleep. I was grateful to be able to take that time with her. My wife and I also make sure that we can take the last two weeks off in December so that we can be home with our two- and nine-year-old girls. I am reminded of a song by 10,000 Maniacs entitled “These Are The Days,” that sums up beautifully how we have to take advantage of those days and moments that are so fleeting. So, I always try not to put off what I can do NOW! I agree with you about the sadness of the passing of Elizabeth Edwards. She was an incredible woman who truly put others before herself, even when she was betrayed. We need to emulate people like her in our daily lives. She gave the full, last measure of her life. May God rest her soul. Thank you, Susan. Great word. Take care. Happy holidays!” – “Warrior” Joe

“I love this one this week – I’m going to print it off and put it on my fridge :)” – Love ya, A

“I appreciated your WOW more so today than usual – this email has two sides and it can be morbid but that’s a choice we make or we can take on the challenge to enjoy LIFE!” – Brenda

Word Of the Week #2: Gratitude

March 29, 2009 by · Comments Off on Word Of the Week #2: Gratitude 

Gratitude: the state of being grateful: thankfulness.

We all have things in our life, both personal and professional, that we can be thankful for. Some people focus on the things they don’t have versus the things they do have. As Sheryl Crow says in her song, “It’s not having what you want, but wanting what you’ve got.”

State of Grateful

State of Grateful

I think gratitude = a great attitude! You can’t be grateful and unhappy at the same time.

Remember, attitude is what you display and gratitude is what you feel! Spend this week focusing on how you feel about your life and the things that you are thankful for.

Reader Responses

“I have taken the attitude of gratitude with me everywhere over the past 20 years. The biggest thing I learned is to make the most of today and let tomorrow take care of itself. I was also taught to be grateful for what I have and not worry about what I don’t have.

I think it was Joni Mitchell in “Big Yellow Taxi,” who sang “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Great word for today. Thanks for the reminder, Susan. I think we still all need to be reminded.” — Joe Moran

“Thank you for the following WOW emails. They are a pleasure to read. I especialy like this weeks word of the week. I am thankful for the fact that I work in a great industry. I am greatful for the relationship I have, and grateful for all the friends in my life.” — Jerry Gonzales

“Yes, your emails are motivating. I thought today’s WOW was exceptionally true. To succeed, gratitude is a necessary ingredient. If more people were thankful for what they have (whether they have a little or a lot), instead of complaining about what they do not have, their lives would be much richer for themselves, as well as for those around them.” — Terry L. Green

“Sounds like great advice…I’ll give it a try. It’s always hard since we all spend too much time on the negative.” — John Mullen

“Thank you for sharing this particular thought of Gratitude = Attitude. Of all days I needed to read this type of inspiration. God Bless and many more Blessings!!” — Mary Hernandez

“I think gratitude = a great attitude! You can’t be grateful and unhappy at the same time. The previous quote from your last message hit me where it hurts, and probably some others as well. Having gone thru the loss of Harold 4 years ago, hindsight shows me that I was grateful for friends, family, God, a roof, an inocme, etc., etc. – but during that same time frame I could honestly say I found no Joy or Happiness. I have been learning to climb out of that hole all this time. And believe me I do have a lot to be grateful for. Keep up the good work. Every good wish…” — Linda Gerry

“Maturity is the ability to do a job whether or not you are supervised, to carry money without spending it, and to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.” — Ann Flanders

“Thank you! I love this e-mails, because that is our focus! Turnover–How to show appreciation to your staff. Very helpful!” — Linda

“Many thanks for your good thoughts. You are sooooo right on!” — Margie Hope

“Thank you so much that’s what I needed to read today.Bless you and happy holiday’s.” — Tommy!” — Mark Updike