“Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to a consumer-oriented emphasis on what one wants or needs. Gratitude is getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, grateful thinking—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy.”
Gratitude also helps reduce anxiety. A 2014 paper in Aging and Mental Health discusses a program which consists of training based on autobiographical memory, forgiveness and gratitude.
“The results revealed that participants who followed the program (experimental group) showed a significant decrease in state anxiety and depression as well as an increase in specific memories, life satisfaction and subjective happiness, compared with the placebo group.”
I’m in South Africa visiting my family and feel so much gratitude despite a few setbacks that almost prevented me from being here. I was in Palm Springs the weekend before my departure and missed my connecting flight back to Sacramento but I am grateful for:
- having the Phoenix hotel night paid for and for not paying two bag fees
- meeting a lovely woman from Oakland, CA who gave up her seat on the flight so someone could get home to the funeral of a loved one
- “meeting” a beautiful huskie Service dog in the hotel elevator and finding out from his owner that his job was to be petted by veterans – to help lower blood pressure and to calm them down and make them happy. A 2012 paper discusses how a Service dog training program benefits the treatment of posttraumatic stress in service members and how it “enhances the sense of wellness.”
- having travel food with me so I could stay nourished until I got home. I tucked in to apples, sardines, oysters, pemmican, a boiled egg and yummy coconut wraps
- making it back in time on Tuesday morning in order to catch my New York flight that very same evening!
- getting to South Africa and spending quality time with my wonderful family, enjoying good food with them (one night we had roast lamb, steamed Brussel’s sprouts and baby marrow/zucchini and a delicious creamy cauliflower dish; and last night we had a yummy Paleo-type pasta-free lasagna from the new Tim Noake’s book “The Real Meal Revolution”), reminiscing, laughing, and getting and giving lots of hugs!
Let’s end with this great quote by Zig Ziglar:
The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more things you’ll have to express gratitude for.
What are you grateful for today? And how does it make you feel when you express your gratitude?