Lifespan – Abilities Illuminated

Seriously? Gratitude is that Powerful?


A few important words from Amy Ford, LIFESPAN Program Director for Special Instruction & Community Based Rehabilitation Services:

Spring has sprung!  It is officially spring; the daffodils are poking their heads out, the cherry trees are in blossom, the grass is greening and the birds are singing verbosely.

Spring gives me a profound sense of gratitude.  But, I’ve learned some important things about GRATITUDE.

Some of you know that this past year has been really rough for me, personally.   Surprisingly, I have been able to stay positive and I owe a lot of that to being able to focus on the things for which I am grateful.

Even in the midst of the “hard” stuff, there are things for which we can be grateful.

I have always been told that focusing on the things you are thankful for helps counteract the negative things happening all around.  That’s true and since I’m an elementary school teacher, I’ve found some interesting scientific evidence to back it up.

Gratitude can: (physically)

  • give us stronger immune systems
  • cause us to be typically less bothered with aches & pains
  • lower our blood pressure

Gratitude can: (psychologically)

  • give us higher levels of positive emotions
  • make us feel more alert, alive and awake
  • help us be more optimistic & happy

Gratitude can: (socially)

  • make us more outgoing
  • make us more forgiving
  • make us feel less lonely & isolated

Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions and it can reduce the frequency and duration of episodes of depression.

Grateful people are more stress resistant.  Studies have shown that grateful people recover more quickly from serious trauma, adversity & suffering.

Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth.

I am inspired by this quote from self-help author, Melody Beattie:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity.  Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” 

I encourage all of us to fill our lives with gratitude.  It’s better for us than a multi-vitamin.

(As part of our weekly “circle-up” at LIFESPAN Shopton, Amy created a garden display and had all of us to write our “gratefuls” on a butterfly and add it to the garden.)

**Why Gratitude is Good by Robert Emmons / Nov 16 2010 / greatergood.berkley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good