As we near the end of 2017 I would challenge you all to review and amaze yourself at what you have to be thankful for. We tend in our world to dwell on the negative, which is actually a very small part of a wonderful bigger picture.
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.
This is actually the season for gratitude. What if you made a commitment to live a gratitude filled life- not just at a holiday or tragic event. Can this greatly impact your life? Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous. What does research show us?
- A 2015 study published in the International Business Research journal showed that collective gratitude is important for organizations. Among other things, said researchers, gratitude can reduce turnover intention, foster employees’ organizational commitment, lead to positive organizational outcomes, and help in “eliminating the toxic workplace emotions, attitudes and negative emotions such as envy, anger and greed in today’s highly competitive work environment.”
- Gratitude also is associated with lower fatigue, better sleep, lower depression, and increased cardiac function, according to a 2015 study from UC San Diego, which included researcher Deepak Chopra.
- A 2015 article in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences showed that “higher levels of gratitude were associated with higher levels of personal well-being, greater life satisfaction, and lower levels of psychological distress.”
- A 2014 study from Northeastern University showed that gratitude interventions could impact things like patience, deferred gratification, willpower and what scholars call “economic impatience.”
- A 2014 study by researchers in the Indian Journal of Positive Psychology found that gratitude increases happiness.
- In one particularly fun study from 2015, researchers found that gratitude causes individuals to prefer sweeter foods! According to researchers, this is because they the experience leading to gratitude makes people infer that they must be deserving of sweetness.
- And finally, one slightly older study we hadn’t highlighted before is a 2012 paper from researchers at Northeastern and Gonzaga, showing that gratitude actually promotes social affiliation and strengthens relationships… something particularly useful when promoting gratitude to facilitate teamwork.
So, as we all ring in the new year, take a moment at the beginning or end of each day and record 3 things you are grateful for in a journal. Yes- you do have time to do this! The benefits are amazing and you will be surprised how it can change your day. Writing it on the paper- recording the words makes it very powerful.
I for one, am very grateful for my Cuisine for Healing family, being able to write this blog, and of course chocolate! A world without chocolate would just be sad!
Happy Healthy Holiday! Dana