Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Attitude of Gratitude

After my first Thankful Thursday post last week, I discovered a little thing going around facebook, where people were posting one thing each day that they're thankful for, until thanksgiving. What a great idea! Between the two projects, I've come to feel much more appreciation for the little things in life. So as I was pondering how thankful I am for the many things in my life, I went to church on Sunday, and you'll never guess what the pastor's sermon was about..... Thankfulness! haha! :) it was a really great sermon. I had planned to post a link to the podcast, but i guess they haven't uploaded it yet, so you're out of luck. shoulda been there! ;) One thing that interested me were the many studies that my pastor read that stated the health benefits of living a life of gratitude. amazing! Anyway, I've obviously been working on my own thankful heart already, but as a result of the sermon, I was inspired to do the same thing with my kids. So now, every day, before we start school, we each take a minute to write in our journals, about the things we're thankful for. I love it! and according to all those studies that were referenced, my kids should live more happy healthy lives as a result. :)

Because I couldn't post a link to the sermon, I went ahead & googled "thankfulness research," and found some interesting things... here are a few highlights:

*In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).

*In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group.

*Prosociality: People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathic and to take the perspective of others. They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002).

*Spirituality: Those who regularly attend religious services and engage in religious activities such as prayer reading religious material score are more likely to be grateful. Grateful people are more likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and a commitment to and responsibility to others (McCullough et. al., 2002). Gratitude does not require religious faith, but faith enhances the ability to be grateful.

No comments: