Psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough have studied the phenomenon of gratitude. In a report published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, they found that there are multiple benefits that come with expressing thanks.
First of all they found that in the process of giving thanks, we bring to our consciousness the positive things we have received in this life. Becoming consciously grateful for those things then increases our level of contentment. This change was especially noticeable when compared to people who instead of expressing gratitude, focus on the negative things in their life.
A second surprising benefit to expressing thanks was an increase in the quantity and quality of sleep. When we are content, we rest better.
Third, they found that if someone makes a list of all the positive things in their life each week, they not only improved their outlook on life, but they also reported fewer physical symptoms. As healthcare professionals, we often witness the benefits that a positive attitude can have on our patients.
What we often forget is to practice that positive attitude ourselves.
Today is a special holiday set aside to review how God has blessed us in our life this past year. While there may have been some setbacks and disappointments, no doubt this year has also contained many blessings for which you want to give thanks.
Take advantage of the holiday today to review how God has blessed you in the past year and express your thanks to Him. As the Psalmist David tells us… express that thanks with your whole heart, so let it be more than a quick thank you before dinner.
Remember…there are benefits to expressing thanks.
And if you happen to be someone who struggles with thinking more about the negative things in your life than your blessings…consider beginning a habit of creating a list of things you are thankful for each week.
The habit can literally be life changing!
Prayer: Lord, You have blessed me in more ways than I can count! Help me through Your Spirit to recognize and remember those blessings…and most of all Lord, thank You!