Oh, sure, we all know that gratitude is important. It’s an experiential thing. We feel better when we express gratitude for someone or something.
It’s also a religious thing. Our world’s main religions — Christian, Muslim and Jewish – are all founded on gratitude. God is the giver of all things; gratitude is the way we acknowledge that.
Two powerful motivators, then – our own experiences and our religious teachings – urge us to use gratitude. Do we? Not much, and certainly not on a daily basis.\
That might change when you learn what these researchers have discovered. Gratitude has the ability to boost our immune systems, bring us happiness and provide us with relief from stress – and not in a small way, but in a big way.
Martin Seligman, Ph.D., the father of the new branch of psychology called Positive Psychology, has followed what happens when participants in a study write and hand-deliver a letter of gratitude to someone they know. The gratitude letter-writers scored higher levels of happiness, a greater sense of belonging, and lower levels of depression and stress following the exercise – even months later.
One thing the HeartMath researchers have done with this startling development is to boost immune systems. Their studies show that a simple appreciation (thankfulness) exercise does that.
What can we do with gratitude? We can score higher levels of happiness, even months after expressing gratitude. We can experience a greater sense of belonging. We can lower our depression and stress levels. We can boost our immune systems.
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