It's that time of year when gratitude is on everyone's mind. Sadly, it may just be the only time of year for some people to stop and take stock of their blessings. If they only knew the impact that gratitude has on their life!
Throughout history the great philosophers have always celebrated gratitude and extolled its virtues. All of the world's religions practice gratitude as a morally beneficial emotional state.
But did you know that researchers have been subjecting gratitude to scientific study?
Among their findings is that gratitude plays a significant role in a person's sense of well-being. After conducting the Research Project on Gratitude and Thanksgiving, Dr. Michael McCollough, of Southern Methodist University and Dr. Robert Emmons, of the University of California at Davis, concluded that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. Also, the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress.
In light of his research, McCollough suggests that anyone can increase their sense of well-being and create positive social effects just from counting their blessings. The reason for this, in part, is that there is a close relationship between people who are grateful and the positive emotions of joy, love and happiness.
Scientific literature reveals that not only does happiness yield numerous rewards, but it is actually seen to promote positive outcomes. What this means is that happiness actually makes good things happen. Additional benefits include higher incomes, superior work outcomes, better physical health and even longer life.
Dr. Emmons goes on to say that happiness can add as much as nine years to one's life expectancy. In a longitudinal study of college students, it was found that happiness levels in college predicted income 16 years later. The most cheerful students earned $25,000 more per year than their most dour classmates.
So for the sake of your health, wealth and happiness, try a little experiment with yourself and begin to keep track of the things you have to be grateful for - - every day. And then watch and see what happens!!
"When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around." - - Willie Nelson