Being Thankful

Eventually social science works its way around to confirming eternal verities. So it is with gratitude.

An article in a psychological journal a few years ago noted that “throughout history, religious, theological and philosophical treatises have viewed gratitude as integral to well-being.” Psychology has recently worked to quantify the wisdom of the ages and confirmed — sure enough — it was correct.

A raft of recent research has established that grateful people are happier people. They are less depressed and less stressed. They are less likely to envy others and more likely to want to share. They even sleep better. As the journal article put it, empirical work “has suggested gratitude is as strongly correlated with well-being as are other positive traits, and has suggested that this relationship is causal.”

Gratitude has long been a neglected quality. A decade or so ago, the Encyclopedia of Human Emotions didn’t include it. (For that matter, neither did Bill Bennett’s affirmatively traditional The Book of Virtues.) As the New York Times reported back in 1998, “Psychologists rarely think much about what makes people happy. They focus on what makes them sad, on what makes them anxious.” They were more likely to study, in other words, the miseries of a Woody Allen than the wellsprings of joy.

(Billy’s thoughts- The above is part of a column written by Rich Lowry. Those of us who base our lives on faith in God of all people should have a thankful attitude. )

(Being Thankful

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