Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We all need some gratitude especially after we got all our gifts in this gift giving season of the year. Tis the season to be thankful. It is all about your attitude. They say, count your blessings. How do you do that? I was counting how many drinks everyone was having, you know just to protect the citizens of America from the drunks pretending to be happy.
We know we should be grateful for new stuff but we should be grateful for the kind notes in greeting cards sent and for the little things like a young child staring up at the wonder of a Christmas tree with its unusual lights going in and out in patterns. And grateful that you have avoided handsy Annie at work who always has to touch your arm for some reason. Sorry Annie but it is true. Haha
During the holidays it is easy to forget to be grateful. Dealing with in-laws, Christmas sweaters, and Secret Santa extortion funds, Hanukah lists and the exhausting ritual of baking those wonderful desserts and cookies that you only dare to make once a year. The battle to then try to resist those special cookies. When they make the sugar cookies in the shapes of an angel, I can’t resist just biting the head off of that angel cookie.
It is really easy to forget to be grateful once the Santas with their bells go away and the store shelves are empty without any Christmas junk to buy. How can we make gratitude last? There have been some studies performed on the subject. One was called. “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life.”
The study found that being grateful has sound physiological and emotional benefits. One study asked people to keep a journal for 10 weeks. One group were to describe 5 things they were grateful for each week. One group wrote down their hassles and a third group were told to write down 5 things that affected them but not to dwell on the positive or the negative.
The gratitude group emerged from the study 25% happier than the other groups. They were in better health and averaged an hour and a half more exercise than the griping group. Well, then most of America is overweight and not happy. Yes, somehow we need to be grateful for something for our health too.
Appreciation can be contagious. Their spouses noticed their happiness as well. Or maybe the spouses were just noticing how great their partner’s asses were looking from the extra workouts at the gym.
Thankfulness is also a anti-depressant. According to another psychological study, clinically depressed people demonstrate about 50% less gratitude than people that are feeling fine. A Thank You a day just might keep the Prozac away! This is not fairy tales and wishes, this is neuroscience!
Perhaps it was a scientist that captured the spirit of gratitude the best. It was Einstein that said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” So, lets take note of the miracles in your lives. The new baby someone you know just had, the soldier that just came home and has his or her brain and arms and legs still, or the miracle that you survived the holiday without fighting with a relative you haven’t seen lately for some reason.
So, they tell us to have a grateful New Year too.

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