Posted by: Anne | November 8, 2014

Thankfulness. It does a body good.

Thanksgiving may be the holiday from [heck] for nutritionists, and it produces plenty of war stories for psychiatrists dealing with family meltdowns. But it has recently become the favorite feast of psychologists studying the consequences of giving thanks. Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others… A new study shows that feeling grateful makes people less likely to turn aggressive when provoked, which helps explain why so many brothers-in-law survive Thanksgiving without serious injury.

[M]y definition of gratitude… has two components. First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. This doesn’t mean that life is perfect; it doesn’t ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life.

The second part of gratitude is figuring out where that goodness comes from. We recognize the sources of this goodness as being outside of ourselves. It didn’t stem from anything we necessarily did ourselves in which we might take pride. We can appreciate positive traits in ourselves, but I think true gratitude involves a humble dependence on others.

[And, as noted above, s]tudies have shown that people who regularly practice feeling thankful have a leg up when it comes to their health. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California at Davis, has been a leading researcher in this growing field, termed “positive psychology.” His research has found that those who adopt an “attitude of gratitude” as a permanent state of mind experience many health benefits. [His] findings, along with those from other researchers… suggest that grateful people may be more likely to:

• get more regular exercise
• eat a healthier diet
• have improved mental alertness
• cope better with stress and daily challenges
• feel happier and more optimistic
• avoid problematic physical symptoms
• have stronger immune systems
• maintain a brighter view of the future

With that list of benefits, who wouldn’t want to try it?


Read more at the sources:

www.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/science/a-serving-of-gratitude-brings-healthy-dividends.html?_r=0

greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good

www.healthline.com/health/depression/giving-thanks

See Also
www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11819/scientific-proof-that-being-thankful-improves-your-health.html

healthland.time.com/2012/11/22/why-gratitude-isnt-just-for-thanksgiving/

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