Exercising Our (Gratitude) Muscles

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Expressing gratitude isn’t just a good thing to do; it also appears to be good for us! Indiana University researchers found that participants who performed gratitude-focused writing exercises felt uplifted, and were more likely to express gratefulness through generosity, even weeks later.

Furthermore, brain scans revealed increased gratitude-related activity even months down the road (New York Magazine).

Though the study was small, we seem to have a “gratitude muscle” that can be strengthened through exercise. If so, there may be more than we thought to the popularity of gratitude journals and Mom’s insistence that we write thank-you notes. Not to mention the biblical call to “give thanks to the LORD, for he is good” (1 Chronicles 16:34, for example).

Might God have hardwired us for gratitude — not only at Thanksgiving but year round — because it’s good for us as well as for those we thank? To that, we respond, “Thanks be to God!”

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