Just in time for Thanksgiving: the health benefits of gratitude

Physicians at universities throughout the country are uncovering the health benefits of having a grateful outlook on life.

This article first appeared on Blogcritics.org

Many people recognize that acknowledging even the smallest good in one’s daily life can be beneficial and health-promoting.    

A recent article in the Portland(Maine) Press Herald, “Reflections: You can improve your health by expressing gratitude, study says,”   

“‘Gratitude helps people improve their health,’ according to this month's Harvard Mental Health Letter, published by the Harvard Medical School. The publication cites a landmark study, which showed that those who expressed gratitude had fewer health complaints.” 

Physicians at universities throughout the country are uncovering the health benefits of having a grateful outlook on life. Seattlepi.com recently published an insightful blog post titled, “The Key to Wellness? It’s Gratitude, One Doctor Says.”  The article notes, “cultivating a spirit of gratitude is the foundational secret to health.” 

In my experience, I’ve also found it’s never too late to be thankful.  

Years ago, I had become good friends with an employer but we parted on unfortunate terms.  Ten or more years later, I realized much of the blame was my own and I felt troubled by this admission.  I looked up my past employer and sent him a card expressing my regret and gratitude for the job I had once enjoyed with him. I soon received a response suggesting that we get together. It was a meeting I’ll never forget.  We reminisced and laughed about the good times and parted with our relationship fully restored.  

I think one of the most inspiring accounts of giving thanks is John Kralik’s book, “365 Thank Yous.”  At a low point in his life, Kralik began sending a thank you card every day for an entire year.  After he had sent his first cards, his life began to turn around.  As he began to take note of all that he had to be thankful for, more came his way.  His financial situation improved, he lost 40 pounds, gained true friends and a sense of inner peace.     

I was reminded of his book by a card I received just a few days ago. On his final day with my office, my assistant handed me a thank you card expressing his gratitude for the four years of working together.  The graciousness of the card was a heartfelt reminder of how giving thanks can raise events to a higher, more meaningful level--a healthful perspective of celebrating the good in life. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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