I’m sure most of you would agree that expressing gratitude is a good thing to do. And you might even suppose that gratitude is beneficial for your health. But now, the scientific evidence is in. The Huffington Post recently reported that several scientific studies have shown that the expression of gratitude increases not only general happiness, but pro-social behaviors such as goodwill toward others, more hours of sleep and feelings of being refreshed upon waking, and stronger, long-lasting marriages.
The article closes with some good advice: make your gratitude more tangible. Write it down. In the same way that a list of goals can help us realize our dreams, or a food journal (as our dear Barbara Birke suggests we keep) can help you realize dietary changes to work toward, a gratitude list, with each scratch of the pen, ingrains thankfulness on the heart where it will bloom into compassion.
Be bold: speak your gratitude aloud. Tell your spouse, your friends, strangers who do a good deed. Be brave: thank yourself. Don’t overlook your own accomplishments, even small ones. Feeding yourself a good breakfast for example, remembering to call your mom, taking a brisk walk on a cool day.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. –William Arthur Ward
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