Giving Thanks

According to a recent study, gratitude may increase your quality of life by making you smarter, healthier and more energetic (Research News in Science and Theology, 2001, vol. 1, no. 5). Robert Emmons, psychology professor at the University of California, Davis, instructed one group of participants to keep weekly "gratitude" journals; a control group wrote journal entries without specific focus. At the end of the study, Emmons noted that the gratefulness group "exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about the upcoming week." In a second study, Emmons led subjects through daily "gratitude exercises" in which they meditated on what they were thankful for. These subjects also reported a greater sense of overall well-being, alertness and energy. So count your blessings; the warm fuzzies you get may last longer than you think.

—Jordana Gerson