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

  • 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
  • First off...I am grateful for this article.
    Second off...I am grateful for the sparking community...Thank
    s ya'll! - 4/30/2015 12:40:04 PM
  • Practicing gratitude can be life changing

    Please join our new Gratitude Journals Spark team - 2/12/2015 6:09:31 AM
  • ANNEMILNES45
    Thank you for an amazing article which I found to be honest and well worth the time to read. I always try to be positive within my life but as you say gratitude helps us to be positive. I am a grateful person but gratitude is more than that. I look at my life and love who I am I have been through some really nightmare situations but it is everything I have gone through which has made me the person I am today of this I'm truly grateful for. I'm over weight and not that healthy but I still love who I am.
    Once again thank you for a wonderful inspiring message. - 1/19/2015 9:52:23 AM
  • I start each day quietly being grateful for all the blessings in my life. It is a habit I developed as part of the Positive Bloggers team here at SP. Somedays, when time allows, I even blog them here. - 1/18/2015 9:20:55 AM
  • MAMAZON
    Thank you for reminding me how many things I am thankful for. I try to thank God in my nightly prayers and weekly Mass for all His blessings, but you pointed out some I have overlooked. - 12/26/2014 9:07:25 PM
  • Well said! Great article! I try & live my life this way everyday except I need to express my feelings more to the actual people I am grateful for. My husband & sons tend to be negative, my daughter & I the positive ones. As I am transfoming all aspects of my life to better myself, my husband & boys see the progression. Believe it or not, they are starting to catch on with this & the laws of attraction! - 10/29/2014 2:03:35 PM
  • what an awesome article. I consider myself one to share gratitude often. but after reading this article I see it would benefit me and the other person if I say why I'm thankful for what was done. I love the idea of calling on the person who is complaining... me included... to then say at least one good thing coming from the demise. because, no matter how upset we are at a situation - if I can say one good thing that is coming from it, I can then come up w/another, and that my dear, is what gets me (and most likely you too) in a better mood and then able to get out of the disturbing/upsett
    ing situation. - 10/23/2014 11:35:52 AM
  • I am grateful for people like you all that have gone thru rough times and can inspire someone like me to practice gratitude. Love the Gratitude Box idea!!! - 10/19/2014 4:36:25 PM
  • 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

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