Lower blood pressure. An improved immune system. More deep, satisfying sleep. I’m not talking about symptoms to a melatonin-induced drug you can simply grab over-counter. These are the results of simply being grateful. Yup, the solution to your problems could just be lying within your mind and mouth. A study done in 2012 with 700 students over the course of four years showed that those who expressed the most gratitude experienced a 15% drop in depressive symptoms. Another research done at the universities of Utah and Kentucky show that a grateful person can have a 23% decrease in cortisol (a stress hormone), as well as contribute to preventing one’s brain from ageing.
The truth is, many of us don’t know what we have until we lose it. I’ve always wondered why human nature tends to realize their appreciation for health, life, and loved ones either during the span of a 24-hour holiday, or when it is too late. It can’t be because we don’t acknowledge their importance, because no one would rather have the worse-case scenario. Lack of gratitude generally stems from what I call, a ‘comparison complex’, and nothing can make you deny the treasures you possess like the feeling that another person’s treasure might be better than yours. And you may have every reason in the world to compare. Lucy gets all the boys; Bobby got the promotion you wanted; Sam and Suzie have two parents that lovingly impart into their lives. But regardless of what others have, our attention must shift from lusting after what others have to admiring them. That way, our focus lies on what we have and thus be grateful for.
Your ability to read this sentence is proof that you definitely have at least one thing you can be grateful for. Your being alive this morning should not be toyed with and taken for granted. Your family may not be perfect, but they sure do perfectly love you, and to be honest, that’s a rarity. You have a job that can afford your current way of life, no matter what the stage. Even the eyes, legs, muscles, and ligaments you demand a lot from either unconsciously or consciously, desperately need your appreciation. Whether we like it or not, life will happen, but it’s our response to it that determines the winners and losers in this lifetime. At the very least, we owe it to our physical and emotional well-being to take the necessary steps to decrease stress and depression, and increase happiness. So for your own sake, exercise gratitude in your life, because like forgiveness, it’s never for anyone else, but for yourself.
With that said I would like to say that I am immensely grateful for my education. Excuse me while I go and thank my professors for assigning four exams next week.