With Thanksgiving coming up, everyone and their brother is talking about taking time to be thankful and why thankfulness is good for you. Isn’t it marvelous that our culture propitiously provides us with reminders to set aside time to be thankful? We have a whole holiday consecrated for that purpose. This makes me happy. And according to the research by Robert Emmons, it makes you happy too.
In fact, his research shows that those who practice being thankful “reap emotional, physical and interpersonal benefits.” He explains that people have a set point for happiness that is kind of like the set point for weight. After good or bad things happen, people tend to level off to their set point of happiness. He found that keeping a gratitude journal, where you write down five things that you are thankful for every day, can actually increase your set point. So practicing thankfulness makes you happier.
A study in Applied Psychology found that keeping a gratitude journal at night helps people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. The mindful practice of being thankful improves your well-being. According to the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, gratitude makes you a better friend by boosting pro-social behavior, and it can also have a protective effect on your heart. Psalm 89:15 restates this so beautifully, “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.” As we move into the Christmas season, I am setting the intention of cultivating more gratitude into my life.
Here is one more thing to be thankful for. Locust & Honey is having a two for one Thanksgiving Special. Click here to check it out.
 Robert Emmons, Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier (Houghton Mifflin, 2007).