Psychologists, Dr. R.A. Emmons of Univ. of California – Davis, and Dr. M.E. McCullough of the Univ. of Miami, have done much research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
Group 1 wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week.
Group 2 wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them.
Group 3 wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative).
After 10 weeks, Group 1 who wrote about gratitude, when compared to those who focused on the sources of aggravation in their lives had the following results:
1) They were more optimistic.
2) They felt better about their lives.
3) They exercised more often.
4) They had fewer visits to doctors.
So, in light of the 4 ways gratitude changes things + one million reasons why practicing gratitude is good for you…I want to challenge you to make a gratitude journal this month! My challenge is to Make a list of 100 Blessings in your life. If you are a person who is accustomed to focusing on the sources of aggravation in your life, chances are this will seem like a daunting challenge – HOWEVER…
What if you just did it?
What if you made it your goal to look all day everyday for reasons to be thankful and show gratitude?
What do you have to loose?
And if you are already a gratitude-filled/focused person, well, this just gets to add to your search for ways God shows His kindness to you! One of the most profound books I have ever read is by Ann Voskamp, called “One Thousand Gifts.” I cannot tell you how highly I recommend reading it. Reading it completely changed my outlook on gratitude. You can check it out by clicking this link: One Thousand Gifts
Emmons RA, et al. “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Feb. 2003): Vol. 84, No. 2, pp. 377–89.