In my book 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People: Becoming and staying highly healthy I discuss the cutting-edge research demonstrating that people who are more grateful are more highly healthy. Furthermore, those who work on increasing their attitude of gratitude also become more healthful.
Now, on the front of its Personal Journal section, the Wall Street Journal “Health Journal” focuses on research suggesting that people who maintain an attitude of gratitude have more energy, more optimism, more social connections, and more happiness than those who do not.
Researchers are also finding that gratitude provides similar benefits in children. The research is said to be part of the “positive psychology” movement. I prefer to call it “counting your blessings” and suggested the following prescription in the book.
Take an Emotional Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning
When you begin to dwell on or complain about a bad event or situation in your life, you can consciously turn the thought or self-talk around. Just tell yourself, “Now tell me something good.”
Try this experiment:
Start taking an “emotional aspirin” every day for a week. Keep a small journal at your bedside. Each night before going to sleep, record five things for which you are grateful. Then, for a minute or two, reflect on each item you recorded and thank God for the gifts you’ve been given. See what happens to your feelings over the course of just a few days.
Here’s another experiment you can try: The next time something bad or irritating or disappointing happens to you—or the next time you find yourself brooding over an unpleasant experience—stop yourself. Choose instead—right away—to find a reason to be grateful. Don’t be surprised to find your attitude change instantly!
By the way, you can measure how grateful you are here.