A STUDY found that cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” makes people less aggressive when provoked, and provided better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression and kinder behaviour towards others.
“If you want to sleep more soundly, count blessings, not sheep,” University of California researcher Dr. Robert A. Emmons concluded.
Being grateful does not being in a state of denial about this messed-up world. There is plenty in all our lives to be grouchy about. Gratitude does not dispel the mystery of suffering and evil in the world and may even deepen our sense of it. But gratitude makes it possible for us to know that, in spite of everything, God is in control. And that shapes our emotions, thoughts and actions.
Of course, gratitude only works when we have something authentic to be grateful for.
One of the great truths is life and love are gifts. The opposite of gratitude is to take these gifts for granted.
Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast said gratitude was more than a feeling. It was an attitude we could freely choose: “Love wholeheartedly, be surprised, give thanks and praise. Then you will discover the fullness of your life,’’ he said
Bernie Siegel is a US doctor who decided a few years ago to seriously study the effects gratitude had on his patients. In the course of that investigation, he said. he evolved from being an anal-rentetive doctor, shaved his head, changed his name from “Dr. Siegel” to Bernie, and actually started caring more for his patients.
‘If your gratitude depends on what life gives you or what other people do for you or to you, you will be disappointed more often than you are grateful,” he wrote. “But you can learn to feel grateful by rethinking your attitude towards life. First, remember that contentment lies in giving. If you know that giving is better than receiving, then you can feel grateful for what you are able to give others. This does not mean you ignore your own needs. You will you will be grateful for having had the chance to give in your own way. Remember, we all have something to give, and our ability to give is not related to our finances or physical strength.”
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.