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7 Surprising Benefits of Gratitude November 22, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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IMGP1216bScientists who study the phenomenon have noticed a not-too-surprising result:

Gratitude makes us healthier and happier and more fun to be around.

Numerous studies by scientists with impressive credentials demonstrate that people who give thanks have a higher quality of life than those who whine  about daily trials and tribulations while hanging on to junk from the past.

1.  They do more ~ gratitude studies reveal that people who make an effort to be grateful for small things end up accomplishing great things.

2.  They feel better about their lives ~ optimism makes them more enthusiastic and energetic and determined to enjoy new challenges.

3.  They function better ~ joy and optimism makes them bounce around like Tiggers rather than dragging sorry-ass tails around like Eeyore.

4.  They are healthier ~ they exercise more, have fewer illnesses, and sleep better when they conk out at night.

5.   They live in the NOW ~ they are more interested in others (and more interesting to others) because they don’t waste precious energy bemoaning the past or worrying about the future.

6.  They give back ~ they are more likely to reach out and lend a hand, which makes them feel good, which makes them more likely to reach out and lend a hand.

7.  They reap other rewards ~ clearer thinking, better resilience during tough times, a higher immune response, lower stress-related illnesses, and stronger relationships.

Good news!  We can achieve all these benefits without running a marathon or doing 300 crunches each night before bed!

Simply focus on what’s right with your world.  Take a few moments each  evening to jot down 3 things that happened for which you are grateful:

* “We’re warm and dry.  Dinner rocked.  We won’t go to bed hungry, thirsty, or cold.”

* “We have all we need and then some ~ the extras, the gravy, the bling, the surplus beyond the basics.”

Stumped?  Check out The Queen of Versailles and give thanks for who you are, as you are.  (Tip:  If you are fat, lazy, and stupid, use someone who is fatter, lazier, and stupider as a frame of reference.) 

Keeping a gratitude journal trains you to look at life in a more positive way. It becomes a bit of a game to go through your day noticing things that uplift you and put a smile on your face.

But wait, there’s more!

As you scribble down the positives, negatives start to fade away.  Soon, you’ll overlook minor set-backs that used to throw you into a dizzying downward spiral and your glass will never be half-empty again.

Quote:  Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Gratitude from A to Z * Happy . . . The Movie * Success ~ A Life Well Lived (DP Prompt) * Gratitude & Happiness (T4D)

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Comments»

1. sweetdaysundertheoaks - November 22, 2012

Good Morning Nancy! Excellent to start this day! A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and BFF!

nrhatch - November 22, 2012

Thanks, Pixie.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and CH.

Gobble. Gobble.

2. Andra Watkins - November 22, 2012

Gratitude is good.

nrhatch - November 22, 2012

It transforms the Ordinary into the Extraordinary! :D

3. JOriginal Muse - November 22, 2012

~ Nancy, I am grateful for you and your blog, for this mobile device that lets me stay in the loop wherever I am, and for the marriage of modern technology with good old-fashioned principled ways to BE here and NOW… ahhh… That’s better! :-) ~

nrhatch - November 22, 2012

Thanks, Joanne! Hope you have a FABULOUS day full of great stuff~ing! Gobble. Gobble.

4. theonlycin - November 22, 2012

Thanks for the reminder *runs off to jot down gratitude list* Happy Thanksgiving, Nancy. xxx

nrhatch - November 22, 2012

Thanks, Cin! Just finished watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Later we’ll be gobbling down great stuff~ing! :D

5. Adam S - November 22, 2012

Love it! Living in the now is so crucial. I’m working on all of these…

nrhatch - November 22, 2012

We are HERE. And it is NOW. What else is there? ;)

6. Carol Koziol aka Nature Girl - November 22, 2012

Reblogged this on Natural Courage and commented:
A great reminder of all the wonderful side effects being grateful has on us and the world! Enjoy ~ Carol

nrhatch - November 22, 2012

Gratitude is good for what ails us.

7. sufilight - November 22, 2012

A good post to read today (and everyday). I like your suggestion to use a frame of reference with someone who is worse off. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

nrhatch - November 22, 2012

Thanks, Marie. We had a lovely Thanksgiving . . . including a bike ride and a walk on the beach. Glorious day. With lots of great stuff~ing to eat.

Gobble. Gobble.

8. Crowing Crone Joss - November 22, 2012

it’s amazing how shifting our attitude to one of looking for things to be thankful for does our soul and body good! it’s a win/win situation if there ever was one.

nrhatch - November 22, 2012

Yes! Nothing has to change “out there” for us to feel better about our place in the world. We just need to change our perspective or frame of reference.

9. seeker57 - November 22, 2012

Amen. Thank you for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving Day!

nrhatch - November 22, 2012

Thanks, Seeker. Hope you enjoyed lots of great stuff~ing! Gobble. Gobble.

seeker57 - November 23, 2012

I did and three Pope’s noses, last month. In Canada, we celebrate it in the month of October. Now, don’t over stuff yourself. Cheers.

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

Thanks, Seeker. I couldn’t recall if you lived in the US or Canada. Now I know. (Now, I’m off to google “Popes Noses.”

10. ericjbaker - November 22, 2012

Hanging on to the past is a lot of unpleasant work.

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

Pain, Fear, and Guilt are HEAVY BURDENS. Especially when we carry them around with us, day and night.

11. Chaviv - November 23, 2012

Hey. I really liked this article. I also did a post on giving thanks, but not to this depth. You taught me a few things about gratitude that I didn’t know :)

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

Gratitude is good . . . we can all use more of it. :D

12. klrs09 - November 23, 2012

Sage advice nicely put. Thanks for the reminder.

nrhatch - November 23, 2012

When our hearts are filled with compassion and gratitude, we are happier. Right here, right now. What a great gift to give to ourselves this holiday season. :D

13. pix & kardz - November 24, 2012

i actually heard about a study – which i have unfortunately been unable to find anywhere – which was about gratitude. two groups of people were separately surveyed on various points of their life – health, income, well-being, relationships, etc. their results were similar. one group was given an assignment over six months to journal the problems they encountered every day. the other group was given an assignment over six months to journal all the things they were thankful every day.
 
at the end of the six months, both groups were given the same survey once more. the ones who journaled about their problems had very similar answers and results as six months previously. and the ones who journaled about the things in their day that made them thankful had an incredible score difference – all of them showed an improvement in all areas of their life.
 
i found it so interesting. the results were the same you mentioned here. an attitude of gratitude, as cliché as it sounds, is definitely worth cultivating. thank you for the reminder, Nancy! :)

nrhatch - November 24, 2012

Thanks, Kris! What a great anecdote to share . . . it’s like an exclamation point for this post!

Journaling the positives is a great way to start or end the day.

14. William D'Andrea - November 24, 2012

I’ve been away for a few days, spending Thanksgiving with my sister and her family, and unable to get back on the internet until now. I am truly grateful that we were able to be together again. As always, there were so many people staying at my sister’s house, that there was no room for Uncle Bill; so My sister and brother-in-law rented a room for me in a local motel. Again, as alway, while all those people were staying with my sister, when I got up in the morning, I had a bathroom all to myself! Something for which I am always most grateful!

nrhatch - November 24, 2012

It is lovely to have a bathroom all to oneself in the morning. :D

15. kateshrewsday - November 24, 2012

I had no idea being grateful would be so good for you, Nancy! It explains a lot. Maybe some of us have a lot more to be grateful for than others; I am certainly among that number. Even on bad days there is usually something good.

nrhatch - November 24, 2012

No doubt . . . but your comment made me think back to the impoverished rickshaw runner from Happy ~ The Movie whose gratitude bucket overflowed . . . even without a roof over his head during the monsoon season. Surely, if he can beam from ear-to-ear . . . we all can.

Here, I’ll start. :mrgreen:

16. Three Well Beings - November 24, 2012

I think that growing up I sometimes chafed under the continual barrage of messages from my mother and one of my grandmothers that warned me never to let ingratitude seep in. Even a hint at a grumble was met with some kind of message that I was veering off course. But the early training seems to have made a difference, because I do walk around in almost a constant awareness of how good I have it. Even on bad days…it’s all relative. I really enjoyed learning how much gratitude even improves overall health and wellbeing. I still think I grumble too much…but I’m working on that! :-)

nrhatch - November 24, 2012

I grumble a bit too . . . but only to a select few. That minimizes my opportunity to share the “downsides.”

Sounds like keeping a gratitude journal is definitely a plus. :D

17. jannatwrites - November 25, 2012

Perfect for Thanksgiving (every day we should be thankful :)) Being thankful for what I have is much more satisfying than dwelling on what I don’t have. Good to know there are other benefits as well. Hope you a had nice Thanksgiving!

nrhatch - November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving was pleasant . . . but now the BAH HUMBUG’s have set in. I cannot drum up any enthusiasm for decorating, shopping, wrapping, or sending cards.

I think the year is finally catching up with me.

18. advocacine - November 25, 2012

I do agree in everything that you have listed…just let me add to your list on reaping rewards… it’s psychic reward! There’s nothing like it when deep gratitude received is sincerely felt.

nrhatch - November 25, 2012

Yup. Gratitude, like compassion, makes us feel better right HERE, right NOW.

19. William D'Andrea - November 26, 2012

If everyone said “Please” and “Thank you”, our mothers would all be so proud of us.

20. Perfecting Motherhood - November 28, 2012

I love that Emerson quote! I try to show my kids to be thankful every day (because kids can be very ungrateful by nature). Today, while I was harvesting a ton of chard in my garden, they decided to pick up all the leaves on the artificial turf. And there were a lot of them. My eldest kept saying they’d get $1 each for doing the work. Well, they did it all without me asking first, they didn’t complain, they did a great job and they got paid. Later on, my son thanked me for paying him for his work, out of the blue. I beamed with gratitude!

nrhatch - November 28, 2012

Hmm . . . was his motivation helping you with the harvest?
Or harvesting some green for his pocket? ;)

BTW: I’m available to pick up leaves for $1 each ~ at ten leaves a minutes, that’s like $600 an hour! That’s more than the Union employees at Hostess earned before the bankruptcy. :D

Perfecting Motherhood - November 28, 2012

Haha, my kids picked up a lot of leaves for $1 each! They’ve helped me with leaf picking in the past and I’m very glad they thought about it on their own because the yard really, really needed it. Looks great now!

nrhatch - November 28, 2012

If I need a loan, or yardwork done, I’ll get in touch with your budding entrepreneurs. ;)

Glad your yard looks neat and tidy.


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