Now is the season to think about what makes you most thankful, but research supports making it a year-round habit. Many studies have found there are benefits of gratitude — both mental and physical — and all it takes to enjoy them is a little bit of introspection. Research from Northeastern University has found that people who felt grateful for little, everyday things were more patient and better able to make sensible decisions, compared to those who didn’t feel very gracious on a day-to-day basis. When 105 undergraduate students were asked to choose between receiving a small amount of money immediately or a larger sum at some point in the future, for example, the students who had shown more gratitude in earlier experiments were able to hold out for more cash.
A Pockitude™ is a gratitude recorded in a pocket-sized journal. It’s choosing to focus on the better things, the things that remind you why it’s great to be alive. See for yourself the change in your attitude, and how you will begin to discover the good in things, people, and places. With a quick jot, you get a shift in your attitude.
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I felt several flashes of gratitude today, and it wasn’t even Thanksgiving or Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day. First my husband, Dave, got me iced coffee without my asking. Then my 8-year-old presented me with a handmade Rainbow Loom bracelet. And my new comforter felt amazingly soft and luxe when I fell into bed at night. Ahh . . .
As I grow older, I’m getting more appreciative of the people and creature comforts that make me feel loved and contented. One study estimated that for every 10 years of life, gratitude increases by 5%. And that, the research suggests, is beneficial to our bodies and minds: People who are regularly grateful—who acknowledge the goodness in life and the sources of it—are generally healthier and happier.