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Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 8:08 am EST
"Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity"

Imagine if you could lose weight just by being happy? Become able to forgive easier? Boost your self-esteem? Research shows that by being grateful, you can obtain all of these things. Gratitude takes us outside our comfort zone so we can see ourselves as part of a larger, complicated system full of reciprocal sustaining relationships. It helps you not only feel good, but inspire you to do good.

Dr Robert Emmons is a research professor at the University of California, Davis and expert on the scientifically-measured benefits of gratitude. In addition to “Gratitude Works!,” he is the author of four books. Recent news headlines show the happiness industry is alive and flourishing in the United States and Emmons has research on gratitude from more than a decade to back that up.

In his new book, “Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity,” Emmons shares that becoming more grateful requires you to train your mind and training requires practice. Researchers at the University of Minnesota estimated the heritability of gratitude at about 40 percent so mental discipline is mandatory because gratitude is not an easy virtue to accomplish, but the outcome is worth the effort. He found that gratitude heals, energizes and transforms lives in countless ways and is a key link between receiving and giving.

A guidebook for how to obtain these virtues, “Gratitude Works!,” weaves together Emmons’ wisdom with his own research, as well as stories of others who possess the qualities of gratitude, to set individuals on the path to gratefulness. In Emmons’ research, he found when people report feeling grateful, thankful and appreciative in their daily lives, they also feel more loving, forgiving, joyful and enthusiastic. Also, helpfulness, optimism, trustworthiness and an outgoing personality are directly correlated with gratefulness.

Gratitude journaling was famously publicized by Oprah Winfrey in the late 1990s but now there is research evidence of what works and what does not. Emmons found that people who keep gratitude journals are 25 percent happier, they sleep one-half hour more per evening and they exercise 33 percent more each week compared to those who don’t keep journals. Gratitude impacts every aspect of life, including spending. Restaurant bills on which the server writes “thank you” produce tips that are as much as 11 percent higher than do bills without an expression of gratitude.

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Wiley
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