Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gratitude

                                                                             




It used to be that gratitude--being grateful--was something that you practised as a child at Christmas:   saying a polite thank you to Auntie Tilda for the socks and underwear that were not on your wish list.   Most of us can imagine feeling gratitude--tremendous gratitude, in fact,--if our numbers finally came up on the Mega Millions lottery.   But more than a few researchers have found that after the initial euphoria, happiness levels return to what they were prior to the win.   For example, this article might give you a new perspective of the benefit of a financial windfall in generating gratitude.

But we should not dismiss the benefits of gratitude.   Scientific research may not promote windfalls but it does believe that regularly practising gratitude--sincere gratitude, not a cursory thank you to Auntie--provides health benefits.   Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California At Davis, has been a leading researcher in this growing field, termed 'positive psychology.'   His research has found that those who adopt an 'attitude of gratitude'  (now there's a catchy slogan!) as a permanent state of mind experience many health benefits. 

But don't think it's just the affluent that can benefit.  Beyond a certain basic level, more possessions do not increase happiness.   Lots of marketing makes us think it does and there's no doubt that it is easy to assume a causal relationship, but it's just not so.

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