After two weeks of moving and nourishing our bodies, Week 3 of the Staff Wellness Challenge rounded out our healthy perspective by focusing on the mind. Fortunately, Brandin and Alica, who are overseeing the challenge, didn’t ask us to delve too deep into our psyches. Our task was simple: Keep a gratitude journal.
A prominent researcher of this topic, Robert Emmons, and his collaborators at the University of California at Davis asked people to write down five things they were grateful for each day. They found that folks who did so felt better about their lives, were more optimistic, and had fewer health problems than those who wrote instead about five hassles.
Other studies have shown that expressing gratitude regularly can help you sleep better, feel more refreshed when you wake up, and even help ward off heart attacks. This short and heart-warming video documents another study on gratitude and its ability to change your mood and mental outlook:
So we did the same thing for a week, and received bonus points for submitting entries. We wrote short lists of things that made us smile that day, or long and beautiful descriptions of people we love. The research outcomes held up; our moods really did improve.
Too often, we get hung up on what’s making us unhappy. Reflecting on the wonderful parts of our lives brings a new and refreshing view, and a healthier place from which to see it.
What are you grateful for today?