Get this: research by Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California, Riverside, has shown that people who express gratitude are likely to be happier, more hopeful and have more energy than folks who don’t. In one study, a group of participants wrote down five things they were grateful for each week for ten weeks, while the rest of the participants were asked to list five hassles or major events that occurred in the previous week. The results revealed that those who expressed gratitude tended to feel more satisfied and optimistic with their lives, their health received a boost (they reported fewer physical symptoms such as headaches, acne, coughing or nausea), and they spent more time exercising. Cool, huh?
I am now ten weeks into my online gratitude journal for 2013, and although I don’t know if I’m happier because I express gratitude or whether the reverse is true, I do know that I prefer to look for the good in my daily life rather than things to complain about (and believe me, there are enough of those!). Here’s what I’m grateful for this week:
>> Two of my Boston-area friends underwent successful surgery. Recuperation isn’t particularly a walk in the park, but I’m so thankful that both are doing well and I pray for their speedy and complete recoveries.
>> I got to FaceTime with my two delicious, silly nieces. They are so much fun and filled with sunshine, and they brighten up my day whenever I get to see them or speak to them.
>> A special friendship that goes back to childhood. My friend always makes me feel like the best version of myself, and is someone I greatly admire and adore. I am blessed that we have been able to share our joys and sorrows throughout the years.
>> My optometrist and my optician have literally changed my view of the world! I’ve always been blinder than a bat, and my prescription hadn’t changed in decades until this week. I’m so grateful to be seeing more clearly thanks to these guys. And they’re both genuinely kind people as well.
>> And although I’m beyond grateful for this every single morning when I wake up, this week marked six years since my prophylactic mastectomy. My whole life has changed since that day, and I’m ever thankful for that life.
Won’t you share something you’re grateful for this week?