Why keep a “gratitude journal”? There’s solid evidence it helps!


T
his Thanksgiving week we are conducting an experiment on OurValues.org: creating a collective gratitude journal.
    We’re off to a great start! I’m grateful for all of you who have contributed a Comment already.
    This week is also our “intermission” in the Tale of the Motown Mendicants as we wait to see if the Big Three will produce a convincing plan for Congress next week. One bit of breaking news: GM just said goodbye to golf superstar Tiger Woods as its pitchman. GM cited the bad economy and Tiger’s wish for more time with his growing family as the reasons (I can’t help but think it’s really just the first reason). Read a full version of this story at AdAge.

    Why keep a gratitude journal?
    Keeping a gratitude journal produces all sorts of positive outcomes, according to research by psychologists. (Robert Emmons is a leading figure in this work.) People who regularly record what they are grateful for become more optimistic, alert and enthusiastic. They exercise more and make more progress on important personal goals. Children who develop the habit of gratefulness create more positive attitudes about school and their families.
    Gratitude is a way of looking at the world. Celebrating what’s right with the world is a conscious choice.     As Catholic priest and psychologist Henri Nouwen said, “Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are steep and hurt and resentful. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my hear responds in bitterness…I can choose to listen to the voices that forgive and to look at the faces that smile, even while I still hear words of revenge and see grimaces of hatred.” 

    What are you grateful for today?

    Please, help us build our collective gratitude journal! ADD a Comment, or if you prefer to drop us a quick Email,
you can do that as well.

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