By Jan Bruce, CEO and co-founder of meQuilibrium
For most of us, giving comes a lot easier than receiving. Problem is, if you give and give and refuse to accept anything from others, be it a gift or a helping hand or even a compliment, you make life harder than it has to be. One of the great keys to stress management is your ability to receive what comes your way, in whatever form it arrives.
There's a growing body of research to back this up, led by one of the most prominent researchers in this field, Robert Emmons, Ph.D., professor of psychology at UC Davis and author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.
He's found that those who view life as a gift experience a boatload of benefits, from a better mood to stronger relationships to better health and resilience. Gratitude, in a sense, is a muscle and as such requires exercise to stay fit and functional.
Check out some of the gratitude research:
- A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison ...
- In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons and McCullough, 2003) ...
- Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions ...
- Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress. The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.
Start your gratitude practice today. Here's how:
- Say thanks. Send a thank-you text message or email to someone who did something nice for you recently. Or write a longer letter, detailing how their act of generosity benefited you. Better yet, tell them in person.
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Jan Bruce is CEO and co-founder of meQuilibrium, www.mequilibrium.com, the new digital coaching system for stress, which helps both individuals and corporations achieve measurable results in stress management and wellness.
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