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psychology

for everyone

The Attitude of Gratitude: Its


Physical and Mental Benefits

Inside This Issue


Attitude of
Gratitide

Mainstream
Mindfulness

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Cultivating

Gratitude

THE MISSION OF
THIS PUBLICATION IS
TO EDUCATE THOSE
Page PERSONS
SEEKING
BASIC KNOWLEDGE
RELATING TO THE
EMOTIONAL WELLBEING OF SELF
AND OTHERS.
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April 2016

Expressing thanks may be one of the simplest


ways to feel better.
By Anna Darbonne-Bjorndal
Gratitude is the feeling that occurs when a person attributes a
benefit they have received to another person (Emmons, 2004). It
is a way for people to appreciate
what they have instead of always
reaching for something new in
the hopes that it will make them
happier (the hedonic treadmill).

Gratitide helps people to improve physical and mental


health
It allows individuals to focus on
what they have instead of what
they lack.

People feel and express gratitude in a variety of ways:


Thinking of their past retrieving positive memories and being
thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings.
Pondering on the present not
taking good fortune for granted
as it comes.
Considering the future maintaining a hopeful and optimistic
attitude.

Continued on page 3

Mainstream Mindfulness

Kolette A. Butler

What is mindfulness? Paying


attention in a particular way, on
purpose, in the present mo-

ment, nonjudgementally. Jon


Kabat-Zinn. Mindfulness is not
MindLESSness. Patients who
suffer from many problems

Continued on page 2

The most meaningful thing to me was looking


into myself and becoming aware of just how
important I am to me.
Mainstream Mindfulness
continued from cover

likely to offer a seat to a


sufferer (Condon et al, 2013) and
reduced occupational stress
could benefit from mindfulcommonly experienced by
ness in integrated health set- healthcare professionals.
tings. Patients who undergo Healthcare professionals
intensive meditation trainexperience stress leading to
ing experience increased
depression, decreased job
telomerase activity (Jacobs et
satisfaction and psychologal, 2010). Mindfulness is also
ical stress. After participaassociated with decreased
tion in an 8-week Mindfulsymptoms in the following
ness-based Stress Reduction
areas:
program participants had

Chronic Pain
increased quality of life, re
Anxiety
duced stress, and increased
self-compassion (Shapiro et al,

Depression

Eating disorders
2005).

Mood disorders
I am more mindful of the

Substance abuse
beauty in nature and in each
(Chiesa & Serretti, 2011; Hoffman et al,
2010; Kristeller, Wolever, & Sheets, 2013; person I come in contact with.
Linehan, 1993); Brewer et al, 2009).

Even healthcare professionals experience benefits from


mindfulness
Professionals who practiced
mindfulness (regardless of
type) were 5 times more
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Cultivating
Gratitude
Embrace setbacks as
your overall journey.

By Anna Darbonne-Bjorndal
Here is a list of ways you
might consider when cultivating gratitude:
Keep a gratitude journal

Set aside time to write
down several things you are
thankful for.

Make it a practice
to pay attention to gratitude-inspiring events and
write them down.
Spend time with family and
friends

Continued on page 5

Attitude of Gratitude
continued from cover
Gratitude helps people
to:

Attitude of
Gratitude
Be thankful

Experience more happiness


(Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006); Watkins,
Woodward, Stone, & Kolts, 2003)

Feel more positive and less


negative emotions (McCullough,

Emmons, & Tsang, 2002)

Deal with adversity

(Aspinwall,
1998; Tugade, & Fredrickson, 2002).

Build strong relationships (Algoe & Haidt, 2009)

Improve physical and mental


health (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). gratitude reduces feelings of
envy, makes our memories
Psychological benefits:
The advantages are most
happier,
lets
us
experience
Increases happiness gratipronounced when compared
tude helps us avoid hedonic good feelings, and helps us to with individuals who focusadaptation (Seligman, Steen, Park, bounce back from stress

& Peterson, 2005).

Enhances mood - elevation of


mood occurs when the recipient reflects upon the good
that another person has doneforhim/her (Algoe & Haidt,
2009).
Boosts well being - the combination of listing off all the
things for which a person is
thankful and daily exercise in
linked with a brighter outlook
on life and a greater sense of
positivity (Emmons & McCullough,
2003).
Strengthens our emotions -

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(Bono, &McCullough, 2006); Mc-

Cullough, Tsang, & Emmons, 2004).

Makes us more optimistic gratitude strongly correlated


with optimism, which makes
us happier, improves our
health (Danner, Snowdon, & Friesen,
2001; Maruta, Colligan Malinchos, &
Offord, 2000).

Protective factor against


loss - negative events can
boost gratitude! Gratitude
can help increase feelings
of belonging and decrease
feelings of stress (Wood, Maltby,
Stewart, Linley, & Joseph, 2008).

ed on hassles or complaints.

Interpersonal benefits:

Increasessocial capital - It
makes us nicer, more trusting, more social, and more
appreciative. As a result, it
helps people to make more
friends, deepen existing relationships, and improve relationships (Watkins, Woodward,

Stone & olts, 2003; Wood, Maltby, Gillet,


Linley, & Joseph, 2008).

Reduces materialism - gratitude counteracts the ill

Continued on page 4

Attitude of Gratitude
continued from page 3
effects of materialism; that
is, it helps peoplefeel competent and related as well as
enables feelingsof satisfaction (Tsang, Carpenter, Roberts,Frisch,
& Carlisle, 2014).
Increases desire to serve
others - being grateful encourages people to give
service to others (Algoe & Haidt,
2009).
Boosts careers - gratitude
helps to achieve career
goals: It makes more effective managers (Jaworski, &
Kahl, 1991); helps to network,
improve decision making
capabilities, increase productivity, and obtain mentors
and protgs (Tsang, Carpenter,
Roberts,Frisch, & Carlisle, 2014); as a
result, gratitude heps you
achieve your career goals,
as well as makingyour workplace a more friendly and
enjoyable place to be (Emmons
& McCullough, 2003).
Strengthens relationships being thankful for the little
things your partner/friends/
family does could make your
relationship stronger.
Feelings of gratitude are associated with increased
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feelings of closeness and a


desire to build or strengthen
relationships with the benefactor (Algoe & Haidt, 2009;
Algoe, Haidt & Gable, 2008).
Journaling about the
thoughtful things a partner
did is linked with beneficial
outcomes to the relationship
(Algoe, Fredrickson & Gable, 2013).
Individuals who took time to
express gratitude for their
partner not only felt more
positive toward the other
person, but also felt more
comfortable expressingconcerns about their relationship (Gordon, Arnette, & Smith, 2011).

Health benefits:

Minimizes doctor visits those who engage in gratitude practices feel less pain,
go to the doctor less often,
have lower blood pressure,
and are less likely to develop
a mental disorder (Segerstrom,

Taylor, Kemeny, Fahey, 1008; Seligman,


Steen, Park & Peter, 2005; Shipon,
2007).

Improves overall health:


After 10 weeks, people who
wrote down 5 things that
they were grateful for at
least once a week felt better about their lives overall,
were more optimistic about

the future, and report ed


fewer health problems (Em
mons, 2007).
Increases pleasant physical
sensations:
Algoe and Haidt (2009) found
that people experienced
pleasant muscle relaxation
when recalling situations in
which theyd felt grateful.
Improves sleep:
increases sleep quality, reduces the time required to
fall asleep, and increases
sleep duration (Emmons & mcCullough, 2003; Spinney, 2012).
Benefits the heart:
Appreciation and positive
emotions are linked with
changes in heart rate variability which may be beneficial in the treatment of
hypertension (McCraty, Atkinson,
Tiller, Rein & Watkins, 1995).
Improves the immune system:
Gratefulness is linked with
optimism, which in turn is
linked with better immune
health.
(May) extend lifespan:
Gratefulness may extend
ones lifespan by a few
months or even years (Danner,
Snowdon, & Friesen 2001; Maruta, Colligan, Mailinchoc, & Offord, 2000).

Gratitude increases sleep


quality, reduces the time
required to fall asleep, and
increases sleep duration.
Cultivating Gratitude
continued from page 2

Relationships are the
strongest predictors of happiness, so takeadvantage of
yours!
Gratitude notes and letters

Write a letter of gratitudeto someone who has
never been properly thanked
for his/her kindness (Seligman,
Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005).
Use social media mindfully

Use pictures and information on social media
to trigger grateful thoughts,
pin or save them to a file
for quick gratitude reminders.
Use other reminders

Two obstacles to
being grateful are: (1) forgetfulness and (2) lack of
awareness. Counter them
by giving yourself reminders
that trigger thoughts of gratitude.

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Dont ignore the negatives in life



Embrace setbacks as
part of your overall journey.
For example, recall a hard
time you once experienced
- - chances are youll start to
feel grateful for your current
state and for overcoming
former challenges.
Volunteer

Use your talents and
interests to giveback. We
become more grateful as
givers than receivers.
\ Confront your own mortality

Considering or meditating on your mortality
instills a sense of gratitude
for life, even its challenges.
Change your internal dialogue

We can change our
mood by changing our
thoughts. Instead of reciting
all the things that are bad or
going wrong in our lives, we
can think aboutall that we
haveto be grateful for.
Have a gratitude partner
You may be able to maintain
the discipline of gratitude if
you have a gratitude partner.
You can pick a friend withwhom to share grati tude

lists and to discuss the effects of gratitude in your life.


We catch on to the emotions
of others; why not surround
yourself with other grateful
people?
Meditation/prayer

Count your blessings
and meditate on them or
express your thanks to the
universe/your higher power.

Cease not to give thanks.


Ephesians 1:15-16

The best benefit of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction is being more


gentle and kind with myself.

indfulnes

Contributing authors, Anna Darbonne-Bjorndal and Kolette Butler, are both psychology doctorate students at Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona. The information contained
herein bears copywrite protection. Anna Darbonne-Bjorndal, Kolette Butler 2015.
Psychology for Everyone Dina Lance 2016
Photo Credit: Dina Lance, Google Clip art images

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