The Power of Gratitude this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is on the horizon next week in the US. For many, it is about getting together with friends and family, eating and drinking well and sharing in some quality time. It also serves as a timely reminder to acknowledge what you are grateful for in your life.

The power of gratitude has become widely acknowledged and has been researched from a scientific standpoint. While many people may consider it to be some kind of ‘new age’ or ‘woo woo’ concept, there is actually considerable backing for the idea that gratitude can change lives and set you on a powerful course to success. UC Davis professor and researcher Robert Emmons is widely acknowledged as a leading expert on the science of gratitude. Concluding from his research, he says that gratitude in a person has three main effects;

  1. To heal
  2. To energize
  3. To change lives.

You can check out more from Robert Emmons in the video below…


Gratitude could be viewed as a trait of a strong personality – where you are able to be keenly aware of the good things that happen to you and not take them for granted. Gratitude has also been strongly linked with the ‘Law of Attraction’; namely if you are grateful for your life, experiences, and the people and things in your life, you will put out ‘positive vibrations’ that attract more good things to you.

Whatever you believe, the research indicates that individuals who express the most gratitude tend to be happier, healthier and more energetic. They tend to report less feelings of stress and less physiological symptoms such as headaches, nausea or skin break-outs. Presumably in part due to the reported feelings of increased energy, those who are highly grateful tend to exercise more and experience the health benefits that go along with that.

An attitude of gratitude sets you up for success. Those who are grateful tend to have their ‘eye on the prize’ and not get distracted by negative feelings or experiences. So how can you adopt gratitude, even when things go wrong? It really seems to come down to practice; if you are in the habit of showing gratitude in good times and bad, it will start to become a part of who you are. It is human nature to tend to focus on the bad, so here are a few things you can do;

  • Keep a gratitude journal and make entries every day about what you are grateful for;
  • Express your gratitude meaningfully to others. For example, don’t just say thank you, tell them what they mean to you;
  • Look for what is right in a situation rather than what is wrong.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating! Even if you are not, think about being grateful and the power of gratitude in your life.