Nov 06, 2015 09:36AM
By Ana Rincon
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ― Eckhart Tolle
Thanksgiving is the traditional time for us to express our gratitude publicly. But more and more evidence is accumulating that shows that gratitude practiced on a daily basis helps us and our community.
For more than a decade, Robert Eammons, Ph.D., (professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology) has been studying the beneficial effects of gratitude on physical health, psychological well-being and on our relationship with others. His research shows that in a little as three weeks, people who keep a daily gratitude journal show stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, sleep longer and awake more refreshed. They experience higher levels of positive emotions, feeling more joy, pleasure, optimism and happiness. In social interactions, grateful people are deemed more generous, forgiving, outgoing and compassionate.
Why would a simple feeling of gratitude have such a transformative effect? Eammons believes that gratitude magnifies positive emotions, allowing us to participate and gain more pleasure from life. Gratitude blocks toxic negative emotions that cause stress, depression and disease. It’s hard to feel grateful and hateful at the same time. Grateful people are more emotionally and physically resilient because they have a perspective that allows them to interpret life events, and help guard against post-traumatic stress and anxiety.
How to cultivate the practice of gratitude:
- Keep a gratitude journal: list five things every week for which you’re grateful.
- Practice counting your blessings once a day
- Use visual cues to remind yourself to be grateful
- Learn prayers of gratitude
- Go through the motions: smile, and say thank you
For more insight from Robert Eammons, read his books Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity and Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.
My five for today? A beautiful autumn day. A healthy body without too many aches or pains. Loving parents and children. New friends. The ability to bring you this magazine every month.