Gratitude May Be the Best Medicine

JournalThose of us who are always looking around for the key to happiness and good health (I'm sure it's around here somewhere ...) might want to try to stop focusing on what's missing from our lives and start focusing on all the great things we do have.

The key to a more upbeat outlook and a healthier you just might be ... gratitude.

Studies have shown that expressing gratitude can have a major positive effect on not only our moods, but also our physical health and the well-being of our relationships. Plus, research has indicated that people who regularly express gratitude about their own lives tend to help other people with their problems more. Inspiringly, the good will you extend to yourself just spreads.


So how can you tap into this hidden trove of health and happiness? Writer Ocean Robbins says one way is to keep a journal recording three things you're grateful for each day. (She suggests jotting them down either first thing in the morning or just before you turn out the light at bedtime.) Doing so may prompt you to see the world in a more positive light, which in turn can help you enjoy it more and also keep perspective on life's inevitable stresses.

It may sound hokey, but I sort of love this idea. Like a lot of other people, the change of seasons -- trading the crisp fall for the chilly winter, watching daylight grow wan and weak -- tends to get me a little down. I might try to take Robbins' advice and start keeping tabs on all the things I'm grateful for in my life -- and specifically jot down three things I'm grateful for each day.

Is this something you could see yourself doing, too?


Image via curtfleenor/Flickr

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