The importance of gratitude and the impact it can have on your life.

24th November 2022 | sysadmin | Reading time: 2 minutes

This is a special time of year here in the United States. It’s Thanksgiving and it’s typically a time for families to come together and spend time and consume too much food. My favorite family tradition is to each take a turn around the family dinner table and share what we are grateful for. That tradition always brings about the warmest and happiest of feelings that tend to dissipate negative and unhappy feelings. There is something very powerful and positively pervasive about the attitude of gratitude that’s worth addressing. 

Many studies have been conducted on this subject and to name a few cited by Harvard Medical School in a blog dated August 14, 2021:

“Two psychologists, Dr Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Another leading researcher in this field, Dr Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.

Of course, studies such as this one cannot prove cause and effect. But most of the studies published on this topic support an association between gratitude and an individual’s well-being.”

As a have lived in Africa and travelled extensively before moving to the USA, it’s been strikingly insightful to notice that the happiest people, cultures and nations tend to be those who have the least but have learnt to be grateful for the little they have. It’s not those with the most wealth and education, but those who have less and always focus on their blessings and not their assets. 

So let’s practice the attitude of gratitude and watch how infectious it can be for others and how your life will start to become a happier experience, despite the negatives that everyone currently has. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 

Colin Wilford

CEO of Wilford Scholes