Thursday, November 24, 2011

Being Grateful Is Healthy - Happy Thanksgiving!

Cultivating an "attitude of gratitude" is proving to have a beneficial effect on physical as well as mental health in addition to it's obvious spiritual connection.

Psychologist Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis states that:

"Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress, and to achieve a positive sense of the self."

Dr. Emmons found that in an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.

It is not about naturally having a grateful disposition, that goes against how our brains developed. We have been programed for survival to processes threat assessments and therefore we are alerted to negative situations about 3:1 over positive situations. It is, as Dr. Emmons research suggests, about developing a habit of being grateful irregardless of circumstances. It is about looking for things to be grateful for.

Take Dr. Emmons quiz How Grateful Are You? over on Beliefnet.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)


D.M. said...

Very true. And God will wish to give us even more when we are thankful! I'm a big nature buff-usually every weekend will find me hiking through our local parks and preserves withone of my closest friends. I've gotten into the positive habit of thanking God for every beautiful or unusual new thing that I see-and God goes out of His way to see to it that I see more-noticeably!!

Hippie Christian said...

One day I had a crushing emotional letdown and I needed to break out of it. I knew that if I could find something positive to focus on I would be able to feel better. I was unable to think of anything positive so I thought I should try to "count my blessings", again nothing came to mind. So I started at the bottom, I thanked God for every rock and tree that I saw. And just as you said, I found more and more of creation to be thankful for. After about twenty minutes of this practice I could feel the emotional weight lift.

D.M. said...

That's cool!

coloradomama said...

As a person who has suffered with dysthymia (a low-grade, chronic depression)throughout my whole life, being thankful for nature has been a saving grace. I would think (and sometimes SING) the words of the hymn we learned as children called "This Is My Father's World." Even if I didn't turn cartwheels (which I never learned how to do anyway!) afterwards, a contentment would come over me.

D.M. said...

That'a an awesome testimony, coloradomama!