Monday, November 24, 2008

Gratitude Can Transform You

From a USA Today article:

Giving Thanks Can Make You Healthier, Happier

Lyubomirsky and Emmons are researchers from the University of California-Davis: who have studied the power of gratitude and learned, for example, that:

•People with high blood pressure not only lower their blood pressure, but feel less hostile and are more likely quit smoking and lose weight when they practice gratitude. In one study, patients just called a research hotline once a week to report on the things that made them grateful.

•People who care for relatives with Alzheimer's disease feel less stress and depression when they keep daily gratitude journals, listing the positive things in their lives.

•Those who maintain a thankful attitude through life appear to have lower risks of several disorders, including depression, phobias, bulimia and alcoholism.

•Most people can lift their mood simply by writing a letter of thanks to someone. Hand-deliver the letter, and the boost in happiness can last weeks or months.

Practicing gratitude in these systematic ways changes people by changing brains that "are wired for negativity, for noticing gaps and omissions," Emmons says. "When you express a feeling, you amplify it. When you express anger, you get angrier; when you express gratitude, you become more grateful."

And grateful people, he says, don't focus so much on pain and problems. They also are quicker to realize they have friends, families and communities to assist them in times of need. They see how they can help others in distress as well, he says.

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May we all find a kindred hand to hold and someone to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

3 comments:

therapydoc said...

I love this idea.

Maureen Hayes said...

Another great reason to be grateful!! We all know it works, but isn't it nice to have more scientific evidence to back it up!

Barbara K. said...

Yes, Therapydoc and Maureen - gratitude is just plain goo for us.