Thank you. Those two words are among the most important and appreciated in any language. He who does a good deed is often satisfied to hear “thank you” as his only reward. It’s too bad the phrase is so underused. Some people rarely say thank you. You wonder what holds them back. We should have developed the habit of expressing our gratitude by the time we were three years old.
On the day of Thanksgiving, people around the United States are expressing gratitude for the bounty of their lives, but many may not realize that in doing so, they are also improving the quality of their health and increasing their life expectancies.
Scientific evidence is conclusive when it comes to mood, outlook, and health. Happy people live 7 to 10 years longer than unhappy people and optimistic people have a 77% lower risk of heart disease than pessimistic people. But how can you become happier and more optimistic, and how does gratitude boost happiness?
Research shows that consistently grateful people are happier and more energetic, hopeful, helpful, empathetic, spiritual, and forgiving, as well as less materialistic. They’re also less likely to be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious, neurotic, or sick.
According to Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky at the University of California, gratitude:
- Promotes savoring of positive life experiences.
- Bolsters self-worth and self-esteem.
- Helps people cope with stress and trauma.
- Encourages caring acts and moral behavior.
- Helps build social bonds, strengthens existing relationships, and nurtures new relationships (and we know lonely people have twice the rate of heart disease as those with strong social connections).
- Inhibits harmful comparisons.
- Diminishes or deters negative feelings such as anger, bitterness, and greed.
You don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to enjoy the benefits to your health and happiness that accompany gratitude. Let’s make every day a day of giving thanks – a thanksgiving day. I’m going to try harder, and I hope you’ll join me. Come on. You can say it: THANK YOU!
Senior System Administration Technician