You’ve probably heard the saying “gratitude is an attitude,” but it’s more than that. When we practice gratitude, we react to unexpected events with delight instead of disappointment. We savor positive experiences, making them richer and more fulfilling. A thankful heart also prevents us from overlooking everyday blessings, like a delicious dinner or a warm bed.
Gratitude is an active process of acknowledging goodness and recognizing its source, according to Robert Emmons, PhD, professor of psychology at UC Davis, and author of “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.”
“While gratitude is pleasant, it is not easy,” Emmons notes, “we have to work at it.”
Counting (and recounting) blessings has benefits. Research shows people who practice gratitude feel greater joy and connectedness, cope better with stress, and experience less illness and depression. Put these prompts on your family calendar now. In thirty days, thankful thoughts and pay-it-forward actions will be almost automatic.