Today is a good day. I woke up to the smell of stuffing. As I was brewing my morning coffee, maneuvering my family preparing for this day of Thanksgiving, I stepped back to observe and was suddenly overwhelmed with gratefulness. Beginning my day with the mere fact that I could smell the stuffing that woke me up to the crowded kitchen familiar each holiday, I felt like my senses were flooded all at once with this feeling of gratefulness. With all of 2021’s unique ups and downs, it felt so good to just bask in the moment.
Today, I was overwhelmed by gratefulness and thankfulness as though I didn’t make an active choice. As it settled in though, I chose to embrace it, fully. I’m so glad that I did because I feel like I’m lighter on my feet. I actually want to go out on my run. I want to hug my kids. Actually, I want to hug everyone.
Of course, the effects of gratefulness that I’m describing is not just unique to me. Research, everywhere, validates it. The health benefits of being grateful are truly amazing. Psychology Today says that gratefulness is scientifically proven to improve physical and psychological health. Being grateful helps support more restful sleep. Gratitude promotes empathy and even improves self-esteem, which results in pro-social behavior that helps one to create more avenues for relationship-building.
Harvard Health published an article on thankfulness that cites a 10-week research study done between two groups of people: Group A was asked to write down things they were grateful about while Group B wrote down irritations and displeasing things that happened to them daily. After the study, researchers Dr. Robert Emmons and Dr. Michael McCullogh found that Group A who wrote about gratitude were “more optimistic and felt better about their lives . . . exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians” than Group B who wrote about aggravating sources.
Furthermore, the same article cites a research study done at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania that divided two groups of fund-raising employees.
- PGroup A performed phone calls as usual to solicit donations.
- PGroup B did the same but before starting their work, the director of annual giving gave them a pep talk, thanking them for their hard work and how grateful she was for their efforts.
The results were astounding. Group B who heard the message of gratefulness made 50% more calls to raise funds than those in Group A who did not hear the pep talk.
The case for gratefulness and thankfulness is convincing enough to promote one’s overall wellness. Whether the feeling of gratefulness just overwhelms you today or you have to conscientiously choose to be grateful, it certainly is worth pursuing.
A sincere thank you to all my patients, their families, our community, our local business partners, my team, my friends, my family, and God for allowing me to participate on this life journey with you. It is an honor and a privilege.