OUR VIEW: Many benefits to being thankful

We Say: Gratitude, the researchers say, is about refusing to allow the negatives to interfere with the positives

Thanksgiving is a time when we are all supposed to count our blessings, but it shouldn’t — and doesn’t — have to be the only time.

Study after study has shown that cultivating a sense of gratitude for the good things in our life is beneficial to our health, both mental and physical.

For instance, research by Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California and Lisa Aspinwall, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, shows grateful people are more likely to have friends, less likely to obsess over their problems, to sleep better, take better care of themselves, cope better with stress and feel generally happier.

One tip the experts suggest to encourage that feeling of thankfulness is writing a few minutes in a gratitude journal before turning in for the night.

Emmons found that people who kept a journal to list five things they felt grateful for each night reported fewer health problems and greater optimism than those who didn’t.

Gratitude, the researchers say, is about refusing to allow the negatives to interfere with the positives.

It’s about choosing to be happy.

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said it well: “For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile.”

So did American novelist Alice Walker, who wrote that “‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”

This Thanksgiving, take a few moments to think about what makes you grateful, for the people and experiences that you are thankful for.

And then keep on doing it in the days to come.

– Black Press