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 founded EllenG Coaching, LLC to help individuals struggling with health issues that can be impacted by positive lifestyle change, such as weight loss, stress management, exercise, and life/work balance. As a certified professional wellness coach and certified personal trainer, Ellen holds a BS and Masters in Physical Education and is certified by ACSM, AFAA, and Wellcoaches Corporation. Visit her at Get her complimentary report, 52 Tips, Tools & Tricks to Permanent Weight Loss Without Going on a Diet, at

Member Comments

  • Love this article! - 5/18/2016 9:36:52 PM
  • I think one thing we often overlook is expressing gratitude to the people who provides various services in our lives. Yes, they are getting paid to do so, but it is also nice to be appreciated. My family and I rely on city buses, and I taught my kids to always thank the driver. Now we've taught the grandchildren. We always greet the drivers, too. In a large city, many folks just board and disembark silently. Regardless of what others do, I want to express gratitude! - 5/3/2016 9:19:04 AM
  • Thank you for reminding us how important it is to be thankful. - 4/7/2016 7:35:27 AM
  • I' m so grateful I can enjoy the simple things in life and their are many. - 1/8/2016 7:17:52 AM
  • I am thankful for many things and feel grateful every time I go to an exercise class and know that I can do this! - 11/28/2015 12:13:19 PM
  • And to think, while psychologists are just now 'discovering' the value of this, God knew it before He even created our world 6,000 or so years ago. I think that is probably why He said, "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus"...Do you think maybe because He loved us so, and knew our makeup (since he formed us in our mother's womb) that He would try to help us out by warning us against what would cause us harm? I for one am so grateful for the person who helped me get to know this wonderful, loving, caring, comforting God by teaching me to read the Bible starting with the book of John, so I could know Him who is the Author of Hope. I wish I could say I was always grateful. Though growing up in the most free country in the world, being given an incredible education which allowed me to become a medical Doctor, eating and breathing the air God so graciously gives to us each and every day along with sunrise and sunsets to boot, I still accused Him of being responsible for all the evils that are in the world today. Now that I know the truth, I am grateful beyond words for the goodness and faithfulness of the One who opened my blind eyes and ungrateful heart. It is so true that the 'heavens declare the glory of God, the earth His handiwork'. We simply need to look up to see something to be thankful for each and every day. His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, the everlasting Father. - 10/23/2015 9:06:56 PM
  • Gratitude IS the BEST attitude! - 10/23/2015 6:24:24 PM
  • This is an article I will come back to and re-read. Plan to incorporate some of the ideas. Thank you! - 10/21/2015 7:33:32 AM
  • You've got to accent the positive, eliminate the negative, and don't mess with Mr. In-between had been preached from sermons since before the song was written in 1944; I have a hard time understanding why the concept hasn't caught on yet.
    I am grateful for having been born into a loving family, for always having a roof over my head (except when camping outdoors), and for living in a country with more assets than we'll ever need,
    8-) - 10/17/2015 3:46:02 PM
  • Many years ago when I was going through a tough spot and really down, my dad said something that has stuck with me since . . . . "Count Your Blessings" . . .

    It seems to transport my mind away from the thing that's got me down, and puts me back on track . . . so many blessings! - 9/18/2015 1:26:40 PM
  • I like to give thanks to Him everyday and for sending His Son to be our Savior. - 8/11/2015 10:03:05 PM
  • I thank my Heavenly Father all throughout the day and if I feel distressed or wake up in the middle of the night especially if I am distressed. I say thank you over and over again, so that the bad thoughts will not overtake me as they are attempting to enter my psyche. Works like a charm because sooner or later I'm back asleep, wake up refreshed all to thank Him all over again for another nights rest and with expectation for a greater day than the one before.. - 8/11/2015 10:54:47 AM
  • Wonderfull article this is!! Beautifull comments here. Thankfull people at Sparkpeople just make my day. I feel exactly the same way by the way, I count my blessings nowadays!! Thank you Jah, for everyday I can experience all of this awesomeness. - 8/10/2015 6:30:09 PM
  • Personally, I'm convinced that we were created to be grateful people. When I read the passages of Philippians chapter 4, for instance, the importance of exposing ourselves to God in all things through prayer is underlined by Paul telling us to do so with all thanksgiving. Indeed, thinking about and attending to everything that is good, acceptable and perfect is included into the concept.

    Or, as was pointed out in The Illuminati Papers [not a Christian publication, for those interested], here is a quick intelligence test: If your world is getting bigger and funnier, your intelligence is steadily increasing. If your world is getting smaller and nastier, your stupidity is steadily increasing.

    I'm grateful for being at SparkPeople, and to be a part of getting help and assisting others as I can. - 4/30/2015 5:59:43 PM
  • I am grateful for everyday with family and friend and everyday that I feel able to move my body and eat healthy. - 4/30/2015 4:10:02 PM

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