Gratitude is good for your health, the evidence (and anecdotal experience) suggests

An April 22, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Shawn Achor’s 6 exercises for happiness: Happiness a choice not a pursuit, psychologist advises.”

There may, or may not, be some hyperbole in the claim that happiness is a choice; I wouldn’t know; I haven’t had a look at the book – The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work (2010) – mentioned in the article, and have not had a look at the evidence the book highlights. But I do like the points (below) that are summarized in the above-noted article, which also includes a video:

“Gratitude Exercises. Write down three things you’re grateful for that occurred over the last 24 hours. They don’t have to be profound. It could be a really good cup of coffee or the warmth of a sunny day.

“The Doubler. Take one positive experience from the past 24 hours and spend two minutes writing down every detail about that experience. As you remember it, your brain labels it as meaningful and deepens the imprint.

“The Fun Fifteen. Do 15 minutes of a fun cardio activity, like gardening or walking the dog, every day. The effects of daily cardio can be as effective as taking an antidepressant.

“Meditation. Every day take two minutes to stop whatever you’re doing and concentrate on breathing. Even a short mindful break can result in a calmer, happier you.

“Conscious act of kindness. At the start of every day, send a short email or text praising someone you know. Our brains become addicted to feeling good by making others feel good.

“Deepen Social Connections. Spend time with family and friends. Our social connections are one of the best predictors for success and health, and even life expectancy.”

[End of text]

Anecdotal evidence

What the article highlights certainly makes sense to me, from the perspective of my own experiences in life. It makes sense, that is, based on my anecdotal evidence.

One of the strongest sources of motivation that I bring to my daily tasks, and to my own (typically collaborative) projects whatever they are, is a feeling of gratitude. That’s my anecdotal observation about gratitude. Kindness and social connections are also powerful resources in life, in my anecdotal experience.


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