After writing about the convergence of Thanksgiving Day and the first day of the Hanukkah yesterday I pointed out that this is a good time to see these days as the start of a lifelong journey, one that is filled with an attitude of gratitude. Presented here is a kick-off plan.
The studies on gratitude are compelling. Dr. Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at University of California, Davis, is considered the world’s gratitude expert.
When I asked Dr. Emmons if the purpose of his work was to convince others that gratitude can be measured from a scientific perspective, not just religious, he noted: "We have replaced arm chair philosophy and moral and religious rhetoric regarding gratitude with empirical observation of what gratitude is and what it does in people's lives."
He describes this further in “Why Gratitude Is Good.” This link has two videos.
Gratitude in children
Jeffrey J. Froh, Psy.D., is associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y., who has been involved in some research papers with Emmons. His findings indicate that the children can be taught gratitude at an early age. He said that grateful children do better in school, have fewer headaches and stomach aches, get better test scores and may be more community minded.
Dr. Froh commented:
"A lot of these findings are things we learned in kindergarten or things our grandmothers told us, but we now have scientific evidence to prove them."
Here are his thoughts from an earlier interview: 4 Ways Children Learn Gratitude
To begin a year-long gratitude ritual, start one day at a time.
Keep in mind the value of laughter and tears. Let gratitude bring out the silly in you especially if you laugh until you cry. And if you need to cry out of sadness, lhere is How Gratitude Can Bring Back Your Smile
Today: Think of four ways to express gratitude.
Tomorrow: Think of four more ways to express gratitude
This week: Create gratitude baskets for your home
For December: The thank you basket for others
For January 2014
For February 2014
Your own sense of gratitude
Consider this to be a start. Eventually you will tailor a monthly guide to fit your needs. By February you should have an attitude of gratitude pulsating throughout your being. Take the rest of the year to create gratitude rituals within your own home. Design a gratitude calendar to remind you that being thankful is filled with benefits – both emotional and physical.
Here are other gratitude columns. Sometimes I repeat myself, but the message of gratitude cannot be stated or re-stated often enough.
Copyright 2013 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved