Health & Wellness Articles

The Power of Gratitude

4 Ways to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

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I’m sitting on my deck, laptop perched on my outdoor table, and my beautiful dog by my feet. Finally, after weeks of humidity that made even breathing difficult, it’s warm with a cool breeze—the perfect weather to be working outside. As I gather my thoughts, I notice my emotional state: content, calm and peaceful. I am struck by the irony. Sitting here preparing to write about gratitude, I realize that is exactly what I am feeling today.

My blessings are numerous. I have a career I am passionate about, which also allows me to work from home and create the schedule I want. After growing up in an apartment, I still marvel at the luxury of living in a private home with a lovely, quiet backyard that has become an extension of my office. I can go on and on, finding things to be grateful for right now, but I don’t always feel this way.

As a matter of fact, I had planned to write this article the other day but I was feeling anything but grateful. My email program had gone haywire, causing me to lose many important messages, and not allowing me to send the ones I was writing. I wasted hours on the phone with technical support, to no avail. To add to my not so pleasant mood, my daughter was supposed to start a new job that day but her new supervisor was nowhere to be found. To top that off, a foot injury that had slowly been healing, was acting up and throbbing all day.

Needless to say, I did not write about gratitude that day. I honestly don’t even know what I accomplished, and when I flopped into bed exhausted—and still frustrated—my mind wandered to the preparatory research I had done for this article. Believe it or not, researchers in the field of positive psychology have been studying the effect of gratitude on health and well-being for years.

Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough are two of the leading American investigators of gratitude. They describe gratitude as personality strength—the ability to be keenly aware of the good things that happen to you and never take them for granted. Grateful individuals express their thanks and appreciation to others in a heartfelt way, not just to be polite. If you possess a high level of gratitude, you often feel an emotional sense of wonder, thankfulness and appreciation for life itself.

Researchers are finding that individuals who exhibit and express the most gratitude are happier, healthier, and more energetic. Grateful people report fewer symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, nausea, even acne, and spend more time exercising! And the more a person is inclined towards gratitude, the less lonely, stressed, anxious and depressed he or she will be.
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at www.EnerGcoaching.com.

Member Comments

  • I really needed this today - I am a very grateful person and tell people that a lot. I just am not very good at being grateful for me and my strengths. I am very blest to have the same kind of job - in fact I am headed outdoors to the deck to begin my work assignment for today - my self-evaluation! My first step will be to do make a list of what I am most grateful about me! - 8/7/2014 10:49:49 AM
  • Agree on so many level. Renewing my journaling and search for what is right. Thanks for the reminder. - 3/26/2014 12:33:42 PM
  • I was really blessed reading this article and feeling guilty for complaining so much. These last 14 years have been a whirlwind for me, and I need to refocus my attitude to one of gratitude on a daily basis where I don't have to feel guilty. Praise GOD that HE never leaves us. - 3/1/2014 9:39:48 PM
  • Really needed this article today. Christmas traditions a bit different this year. - 12/25/2013 11:56:23 AM
  • Bible principles work! - 11/29/2013 7:16:28 AM
  • For years I have kept a BLESSING BOX - when a special blessing would come my way, I'd jot it down and deposit it there. On those times when I was feeling less than blessed, It always brought a smile to my face to pull out one of those blessings and relive it again. - 11/28/2013 1:20:31 PM
  • Every night I write in my gratitude journal just before turning out the light. I chose three things. One always is related to my body and the other two can be anything! It is a practice that helps me stay balanced. - 11/28/2013 5:32:11 AM
  • My life seemed to be crashing all around me today. I read this article and life took on a new look! There is so much to be thankful for - my mom, my 2 daughters and my favorite nephew! Thanks for the reminder! - 11/5/2013 9:52:08 PM
  • I have noticed this in life but didn't really put it to thought untill now !! My niece just yesterday was talking about how bad she feels. She went to the doctor and all they could find was a low potassium level. I began telling her how if she had a more positive attitude she would feel better. I explained she should take a walk everyday, gave thanks for the things around her, etc. She said she would. Let's keep our fingers crossed ! (This is not a new attitude for her she is this way most of the time ) - 9/12/2013 5:59:54 PM
  • I am so thankful for gratitude. Because if it wasn't for his grsce and mercy I don't know where I would be right now. So GRATITUDE is my best friend. - 6/23/2013 9:29:17 AM
  • My husband and I have a lot to be grateful for. We need to remember that. Something not so great happened the other day and I was not too upset. My husband on the other hand was freaking out. I reminded him that we have the means to take care of the problem and we need to be grateful for that instead of getting upset over it. - 5/15/2013 9:10:04 AM
  • Thank you so much! This came at just the right time! (something to be thankful for!) - 3/3/2013 1:40:02 AM
  • JGRAY76
    I am a huge believer in the power of gratitude and thinking positively. Always looking for what's right instead of what's wrong. My husband is the opposite and it drives me crazy. You choose how you feel and how you think. Choose wisely. - 2/23/2013 8:04:59 AM
  • JLARKIN9
    In ALL things give thanks for this is the will of God. I journal every day and have noticed that anytime I begin with complaints it always turns to blessings by the end of my entry. God is so good!!!
    - 2/2/2013 9:03:38 PM
  • I believe in the benefits of gratitude. I went through a rough period of time at my job. I found it very difficult to find anything positive and it was having an impact on my life outside work. My husband started emailing "blessing letters" to me at work which listed small and large blessings in our lives. These emails were heartfelt and touched me to "happy" tears many times. I soon began replying back to him listing blessings of my own. Eventually it became a daily ritual of ours. We have since moved on from that job and we have stopped doing this daily email, but I saved printed copies of each email. Perhaps now is the time for me to revisit them. - 1/25/2013 5:21:45 PM