Why it’s great to be grateful: It makes us happier and healthier

I was reading over at the Arizona Republic this morning about Gratitude! I love it when the media is discussing this! Many of items reported in their article have been discussed here at All About Gratitude in various posts! Being validated by others is always a good sign!

I am reposting their article on my site; I have asked permission from AR and I am awaiting a reply. If they ask me to remove it, I will. Until then, enjoy!

Why it’s great to be grateful: It makes us happier and healthier

Want to make the world a better place and give yourself a health boost at the same time? You don’t have to singlehandedly stop global warming or discover a cure for the common cold (though we wish you would) – not if you’re belting out a couple of heartfelt thank-yous every day. Because here’s the thing about gratitude: It’s not just good for you; it’s deep-down good for the people around you, too.

Gratitude has a powerful ripple effect. In marriages and other romantic relationships, for instance, expressing sincere appreciation for all the little (and big) things your mate has done for you today translates into more happiness and connectedness for both of you tomorrow. If you have kids, grandkids or other VIYPs (very important young people) in your life, teaching them to say “thank you” (and mean it!) isn’t just about teaching them good manners. Sharing the art of being grateful is so much better than the usual things you share: a pizza, a cold. The effects last much longer and translate into more happiness, better health and even better grades as kids grow up.

Even the business world and medical centers are practicing what smart bosses do intuitively: show personal gratitude to their employees. It bolsters loyalty and bumps up productivity in ways company picnics or casual Fridays just can’t match. Plus, team spirit increases faster than the number of people following Charlie Sheen’s tweets.

Earlier this year, we made a simple new commitment to cultivating an attitude of gratitude: Both of us send three thank-you notes a day or call and personally thank three people.Niftily, gratitude’s benefits ricochet back at you. People who practice this virtue feel 25 percent happier. They also tend to have better friendships, eat healthier, work out longer and have stronger immune systems. Saying “thanks” turbo-charges your energy and enthusiasm, and even protects against headaches, queasy tummies and everyday aches and pains. If you’ve ever counted your blessings before bed, you may have noticed what one recent British study found: Feeling thankful helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.

But gratitude is more than muttering a quick “thanks” or texting the shorthand version, “Thx.” Genuine thankfulness is:

– Exercising your emotions. Feeling thankful comes in part from counting your blessings every day (a gratitude journal is a great idea). Maintaining a grateful outlook means keeping it up in the same way that a 30-minute daily walk keeps your heart and hips healthy. At dinner every night, bring up three good things that happened during the day, and be thankful for them. If you have kids, make this a nightly ritual, and have them join in.

– Not for wimps. Cultivating gratitude isn’t always a warm and fuzzy experience, says gratitude researcher Robert Emmons. Try to feel grateful on grim days, too – the car overheated, you got soaked in a sudden downpour, your kid flunked algebra … again. Saying thanks for the good things in life on even very bad days “requires contemplation, reflection and discipline,” Emmons says. “It can be hard work.” But it will get you through tough spots, too.

– In the details. A great thing about gratitude is that it puts you in the larger moment. Or it can, if you take the time to discover all the specific good stuff in your life. Once you start looking, we bet you’ll find plenty to be grateful for.

– Not the same as “I owe you one.” Feeling indebted isn’t necessarily the same as the heart-on-your-sleeve connection you get with pure, open gratitude. In fact, married couples don’t get a boost in satisfaction and closeness when one partner feels indebted to the other. It takes emotional honesty and a little bit of vulnerability to make that spot inside you melt.

– Not a now-and-then thing. We humans seem hardwired to share a warm sense of appreciation with others, and often. It’s part of the good glue that holds close relationships together. Release your gratitude into the world by committing to a couple of daily “thank yous” (at work, at home, to the manager who saved you from a phone tree). Write a special note to someone who has been important in your life. Spread gratitude around (we regularly say, “thank you, Mehmet,” “thank you, Mike,” and we both mean it). And do express thanks to the higher power in your life.

Mehmet Oz is a heart surgeon; Michael Roizen is an anti-aging specialist. They have co-written health books and work together on the “Dr. Oz” television show. To submit questions, go to RealAge.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.


  1. Menka on March 20, 2011 at 9:47 am

    It is a powerful message.Love it. Thank you Paul.

  2. Paul on March 20, 2011 at 10:46 am

    @Menka – I am just sharing it from where I read. I cannot take credit for writing it, only passing it along! Thanks.

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