We hear and read about how an attitude of gratitude and how it can help us through tough times. This is very true. Equally as important is how expressing profound gratitude can transform our levels of happiness on an even deeper level. It can also a bring us that often elusive peace of mind.
Robert Emmons, Ph.D. is the author of Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, which I acknowledge in my book, This Is the Moment Recently Dr. Emmons wrote an article that summarized very concisely what we can gain from expressing and feeling gratitude.
“We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages 8 to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
- Stronger immune systems
- Less bothered by aches and pains
- Lower blood pressure
- Exercise more and take better care of their health
- Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
- Higher levels of positive emotions
- More alert, alive, and awake
- More joy and pleasure
- More optimism and happiness
- More helpful, generous, and compassionate
- More forgiving
- More outgoing
- Feel less lonely and isolated
Take another look at the list that Dr. Robert Emmons shares above – if a daily supplement pill promised these results, would you take it?
The practice of expressing deep gratitude to those who have impacted our lives in important ways can yield all the above benefits and some additional ones. Further, if we fail to express this level of appreciation, to others, the outcome is usually painful regrets for all that was left unsaid. Given all the benefits of expressing deep gratitude to others, both for ourselves and the recipients, why don’t we “just do it”? Because it is not normal or customary. In one of my chapters “Hesitancy is but One Step from Action” I sleigh these perceived obstacles including I’m too Old, I’m too Young, I’m too Busy, I’d be Uncomfortable, It Doesn’t Matter, or They Know How I Feel.
After I’d completed my yearlong journey of gratitude and one of my friends asked, “What did you get from all this?” “What was it really like for you?” It was almost as if he was asking me to reveal a secret, and it prompted me to drill a little deeper for a response.
Two of several immediate responses came to mind. First, I had a much deeper appreciation of just how important these relationships were to me. It felt like I was seeing them in “high definition”. The second thought was: peace of mind. I didn’t realize I was getting it at the time I was having my conversations or even after I’d finished them. I only got in touch with how peaceful I’d become sometime later when I was faced with a crisis. Which I go into more detail in This is the Moment.
Don’t wait until you have a health crisis to express profound gratitude, do it today for all the reasons Dr. Emmons’ study reveals, and much more.
To read the entire online article by Robert Emmons, Ph.D. click here: “Why Gratitude Is Good”
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