“Gratitude is one of the most neglected emotions and one of the most underestimated of the virtues” –Robert Solomon
Every October, Canadians give thanks and gratitude to friends and family with turkey and sore stomachs. Whether it’s the pie, the stuffing, or the presence of loved ones, the day is presented with joy and happiness. But what if we celebrated our life each and every day?
The Five Minute Journal
The Five Minute Journal is a place to be grateful each morning and each night of the little things in life. Each page includes a daily quote, a daily affirmation, and asks the writer to consider three things he or she is grateful for: three things that would make the day great, three amazing things that happened, and ways to make today better. Sometimes it’s just a fireplace to cuddle up beside or finding a dollar on the ground. The idea is to draw on positive emotions rather than negative ones.
What is gratitude?
In The Psychology of Gratitude, David Steindl-Rast defines gratitude as ‘‘an act of heightened and focused intellectual and emotional appreciation.’’ However, researchers and psychologists argue there isn’t one definition that encapsulates gratitude.
The many benefits of gratitude
In a study done in 2003 by Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough, participants were separated into three groups. One group was to ‘count their blessings’ each day so researchers could see the psychological and physical effects of gratitude. The second group recorded hassles, and the third group recorded major events.
From this paper, which included multiple studies on gratitude, it was found that being grateful each day not only increases positive emotions but decreases negative ones, improves sleep, improves physical health. Participants were also more likely to exercise regularly.