WHAT IS GRATITUDE?

Gratitude. How would you define it? I believe gratitude is a state of appreciation. It is finding the good things around us and being grateful for them.  Each night when we sit down to dinner, we go around the table and say one thing we are thankful for and this could be as easy as, “my favorite dinner,” but we also encourage the kids to think deeper.  Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks for everything that we have, and a great time to be aware of all of the things that you are grateful for.

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RESEARCH ON GRATITUDE

Most research studies suggest that having the ability to be grateful is consistently associated with greater happiness (1), and happier people set themselves up for better health.   Keeping a gratitude journal consistently has been shown to help with a positive outlook while those who are grateful also report lower levels of depression and stress  (2). From a health standpoint, those who were able to express gratitude showed less inflammation and even better sleep, both which contribute to better health. (3)  Relationships in which partners express gratitude towards one another have been found to have stronger bonds.   Overall, the ability to find appreciation in the things that are meaningful to us has many health benefits.

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IDEAS FOR BECOMING MORE GRATEFUL

  • Keep a gratitude journal, daily, or weekly!
  • At the end of each day, get into the habit of thinking about what you are grateful for.
  • Be outwardly thankful and recognize the things that people do that you are grateful for.
  • Write a thank you note.
  • Pray or meditate.
  • Surround yourself with grateful people.
  • Train yourself to look for the good in everything.

How do you show gratitude? 

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Sources:

(1)  In Praise of Gratitude, (2)  The Importance of Gratitude, (3)  The Role of Gratitude in well-being in asymptomatic heart failure patients. 

 

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