Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Benefits of Gratitude: There’s an Old Saying That if You’ve Forgotten the Language of Gratitude, You’ll Never be on Speaking Terms with Happiness. It Turns Out This isn’t Just a Fluffy Idea

Gratitude , The Tall Ships' Races, Szczecin 2007Image via Wikipediaby Ocean Robbins, Yes! magazine: http://www.yesmagazine.org

It’s true: Our world is pretty messed up. There's certainly no shortage of justification for disappointment and cynicism. But what are you grateful for? It's a question that could change your life.

Recent studies have concluded that the expression of gratitude can have profound and positive effects on our health, our moods and even the survival of our marriages.

As Blair and Rita Justice reported for the University of Texas Health Science Center, "a growing body of research shows that gratitude is truly amazing in its physical and psychosocial benefits."

In one study, Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. of the University of California at Davis and Mike McCullough of the University of Miami randomly assigned participants one of three tasks.

One group kept a journal in which they were told to briefly describe five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another five recorded daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them; and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told to focus on the positive or on the negative.

Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the hassled group. They reported fewer health complaints, and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more.

If you've forgotten the language of gratitude, you'll never be on speaking terms with happiness.

In a later study by Emmons, people were asked to write every day about things for which they were grateful. Not surprisingly, this daily practice led to greater increases in gratitude than did the weekly journaling in the first study.

But the results showed another benefit: Participants in the gratitude group also reported offering others more emotional support or help with personal problems, indicating that the gratitude exercise increased their goodwill towards others, or more technically, their "pro-social" motivation.

To read further, go to: http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/the-benefits-of-gratitude?utm_source=wkly20120210&utm_medium=yesemail&utm_campaign=titleRobbins
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