Thanksgiving is a great time to think about what we’re grateful for. Dr. Robert Emmons of UC Berkeley, one of the leading experts on gratitude, says gratitude is important because it allows us to appreciate the value of the good things in our lives. Being grateful also blocks negative emotions, helps us fight stress and increases our sense of self-worth, Dr. Emmons has found.
And it turns out that gratitude can also mean better physical and mental health. Research published by the American Psychological Association found that recognizing and giving thanks for the positive aspects of life can result in improved mental, and ultimately physical, health in patients with asymptomatic heart failure. more gratitude in these patients was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health.
Dr. Emmons believes that people who are thankful for what life gives them receive physical, psychological and social benefits:
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.
Residents of Good Shepherd Nursing Home and Welty Home, senior living options in Wheeling, WV, observed Thanksgiving with Holy Mass and ecumenical prayer services. Residents also enjoyed traditional turkey dinners and time with family and friends. The writer Marcel Proust encouraged people to be grateful for those who make us happy. “They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom,” he wrote.