Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gratitude is not for Wimps

A team of psychologists is researching the science of gratitude and collecting evidence that it enhances one's quality of life.

"Far from being a warm, fuzzy sentiment, gratitude is morally and intellectually demanding, it requires contemplation, reflection and discipline. It can be hard and painful work."

Professor Robert Emmons assigned some students to write down five things they were thankful for each day and others to record five complaints. Three weeks later, the grateful students reported measurable improvements in psychological, physical and social well-being compared with their complaining classmates.

Since then, Emmons has conducted variations of the experiment in dozens of other study populations, including organ transplant recipients, adults with chronic neuromuscular disease, and healthy fifth-graders.

“We always find the same thing,” he says. “People who keep gratitude journals improve their quality of life.”

In his book he discusses 10 strategies to cultivate gratitude which include keeping journals, remembering the bad, learning prayers, appreciating one's senses, going through the right motions which will lead to positive emotions.

I am also reminded of several quotes:

The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give. ~ Walt Whitman

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. ~ Winston Churchill

Via Futurity