Gratitude Is Golden
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all others.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
I had a chance to experience gratitude and joy this weekend when I received a surprise visit from my youngest son who lives in Washington D.C. Of course I have a reason to be grateful everyday because I get to see my oldest son and his girlfriend. Sometimes we forget to be grateful for what is right in front of us. We are so busy looking at what we are missing we forget to be grateful for what we have. I live in Minnesota where it is often bitter cold and snow is everywhere. The bad weather blinds me from the joy, and I forget to be grateful for the beauty of the snow, to enjoy the snow falling and not just look forward to spring.
According to Psychology Today, people who practice gratitude are 25% happier, they are more optimistic and they feel like they have a brighter future. Practicing gratitude can help us feel a greater satisfaction with our lives. In 2017 Wong and Brown did a study on gratitude. They divided the participants into three groups:
Group one wrote a gratitude letter to another person every week for three weeks.
Group two wrote about their thoughts and feelings about negative experiences.
Group three didn’t write anything.
All three groups received counseling services. Group one reported “significantly better mental health four and 12 weeks” after the intervention ended, more so than groups two or three. Practicing gratitude can disconnect us from toxic negative emotions and the ruminations that often accompany them. In addition, practicing gratitude trains the brain to look for things to be grateful for.