Research shows giving thanks boosts health and happiness

A good dose of daily gratitude goes a long way. People who often give thanks are less envious and resentful, sleep longer, exercise more and report a drop in blood pressure, according to Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis.

Psychologist Brenda Shoshanna, author of 365 Ways to Give Thanks: One for Every Day of the Year, also believes in the benefits of gratitude. She says being appreciative makes us physically and mentally healthier.

Psychologist David DeSteno says gratitude makes people more generous and builds social support, which is tied to physical and mental well-being.

Isn’t it amazing that saying thank you often could be so powerful?

So how often do we need to say thanks to boost health and happiness? “If you don’t do it regularly, you’re not going to get the benefits,” said Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside. “It’s kind of like if you went to the gym once a year. What would be the good of that?”

So let’s be grateful every day for all the good in our lives, count our blessings, and say thank you.

A few years ago I wrote a list of many things I’m grateful for in my life, to read when I need to remind myself of positive things that I have. The list is on my bedside table and I read it before I go to bed and sometimes throughout the day, when I feel the need. It has things on there like good friends and family, getting an education, and having enough clothes, food and clean water.

I find the list especially helpful when I start to feel sorry for myself about things in my life that I’m unhappy, stressed or angry about, or wish I could change but can’t. I’ve adapted the list over the years as my circumstances change.

… Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value in your life, and the more of your life that you like and appreciate, the healthier you’ll be.”

– Christiane Northrup

As 86-year-old retired ex-army cancer survivor Bill Golden says, “It’s surprising what those two little words do for a person. It’s easy to say and it does a lot of good.”

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