In a society where success is the brass ring, gratitude, happiness and self-compassion often take a back seat. The good news is cultivating an attitude of gratitude has the opposite effect.

Gratitude is the act of expressing thanks for what we have and for what others have done for us. Robert Emmons, Ph.D., a University of California professor, studies gratitude at the Emmons Lab. He also wrote the book, “Thanks! How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.”

His research findings are amazing. Here are a few:

  • “Those who kept gratitude journals exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week.”  (Emmons & McCullough 2003)
  • People who kept a gratitude journal for two months made progress toward interpersonal, academic and health-based goals while others did not.
  • Adults with neuromuscular diseases had more energy, optimism and better sleep relative to a control group.

The first step is deciding to be grateful. The second is to commit a quality rather than quantity approach to exploring your gratitude. The third is writing it down.

Some people write letters thanking people who’ve made a difference in their lives. Then, they deliver these letters.

Gratitude is the goal itself while happiness and health are the benefits.

This Thanksgiving and holiday season, Counseling & Recovery Services is grateful for you and your partnership in helping build better lives.

We wish each of you a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season filled with gratitude, health and happiness.