Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gratitude: the memory of the heart

Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor at the University of California, Davis, has done eight years of extensive research on gratitude. He calls it a "chosen emotion" because it compels us to surrender a victim mentality and sense of entitlement. More than just positive thinking, Emmons finds that gratitude actually improves physical health. The jury is still out on exactly how it makes you feel better, but it appears to boost the immune system. In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater energy and better sleep quality, relative to a control group.

Gratitude also has positive side-effects. It allows us to celebrate the present. It blocks toxic emotions like resentment and regret. It strengthens our social ties and sense of self-worth. It turns denial into acceptance; mistakes into helpful lessons, and what we have into enough by placing less importance on material goods. Grateful people are more likely to acknowledge the interconnectedness of all life, and a corresponding responsibility to others. To see a 5-minute video that will make you smile and trigger your own gratitude, visit

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