The Value of Gratitude

Last night I thanked my immune system for doing so well. I have had very few infectious illnesses in my adult life. I also thanked my eyes for keeping my sight going. I have glaucoma, yet I see. Then I thanked my heart for beating zillions of times.

I am a grateful person.

There is no limit to my feelings of gratitude. It goes beyond my body organs.

I appreciate the rain. I used to call my home town Droughtdale. No more.

I am grateful for the magnetic atmosphere of the earth keeping solar rays from putting me in an early grave. I am grateful that I live in a country where it is safe to mock national leaders.

I have cheated death a few times. Once, before I started wearing a helmet, I went over my bicycle handlebars. I cursed and bled, but I did not perish.

Another time I walked a good ways out on a narrow rock outcropping over a deep drop. The wind rose suddenly, and I feared for my life, but the wind was not strong enough to blow me off. I am grateful to still be breathing.

With so many people out of work now, I am grateful to have a job. When I see how poor most people on earth are, I am grateful to have money in the bank.

I am not the only person to think gratitude is powerful. Willie Nelson, who has experienced high points and low, said: “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”

Albert Einstein commented: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

I am working on a meta-analysis of studies that examined the association between gratitude and depression. The results are that high gratitude is associated with low levels of depression. That finding does not show that gratitude prevents depression, but I understand how gratitude can help a person feel satisfied with life.

Gratitude is a key part of positive psychology – the study of how certain types of positive thinking and behavior can help us thrive.

Consider how often you feel grateful and how often you express that feeling to others. If you rate yourself high, it is a good bet that you feel happy most of the time.

 

Photo by Morvanic Lee on Unsplash

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