Thanksgiving adds to healthy living

Pass the gravy please and thank you!  A big part of Thanksgiving tradition involves family recipes and food…lots of food.  And while we all know the dangers of excessive eating, it turns out gratitude in big portions is good for us.

How good?  The effects of thankfulness on health are measurable according to researchers who have been studying the connection with great interest.  One example: Robert Emmons at the University of California-Davis and Michael McCullough from the University of Miami have deduced that people feel better physically and mentally when counting their blessings. Their study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The two psychologists open their report with a Charles Dickens quote: “Reflect on your present blessings, on which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”  The researchers studied three groups each with a different assignment.  One group focused on things they were grateful for over a one week period.  Another group concentrated on daily irritations over the same period, while a third group dealt with things that had impacted their lives with no positive or negative emphasis.  It turned out that over a ten week span, those focusing on gratitude experienced fewer health complaints and felt better about their lives.

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