Gratitude Journal, Inspiration, and Humor (November 2012)
By Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Why not start at Thanksgiving? In my earlier emails about World Gratitude Day I referred to a study showing that gratitude increases happiness. This was from Robert Emmons and Mike McCullough, outlined in Emmons book, Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.

The ten week experiment randomly assigned people into three groups all asked to keep a daily journal. The Gratitude Condition group wrote five things they are grateful for, the Hassles Condition group, wrote five things they were displeased about, and the Events Condition group, were not told to accentuate the positive or negative.

According to the scientists scale in which they calculated well-being, the gratitude condition group were a full 25% happier than the other participants. This group also spent more time exercising than the other two groups (about 1.5 hours more per week) and reported few physical complaints. Remember your journal can include very short simple things like: a beautiful sunset, good health, food to eat, and a bed to sleep in!

For more information on Emmons and his gratitude lab, check out his site.

Gratitude Inspiration and Humor

Perhaps you have some gratitude prayers from your own religious tradition. If not or you are more secular in philosophy, here are a couple to consider for a daily practice from Emmon Thanks book.

Native American tradition
We thank Great Spirit for the resources that made this food possible;
we thank the Earth Mother for producing it,
and we thank all those who labored to bring it to us.
May the Wholesomeness of the food before us,
bring out the Wholeness of the Spirit within us.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist teacher
Waking up this morning, I see the blue sky.
I join my hands in thanks
for the many wonders of life;
for having twenty-four brand-new hours before me.

From Garrison Keillor, Prairie Home Companion
Thank you, Lord for giving me the wherewithal not to fix a half-pound cheeseburger right now and to eat a stalk of celery instead. Thank you for the wonderful son and the amazing daughter and the smart sexy wife and grandkids...Thank you for the odd delight of being sixty, part of which is the sheer relief of not being fifty. I could go on and on...List your blessings and you will walk through those gates of thanksgiving and into the fields of joy.

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Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC, owner of Litzinger Career Consulting, provides career counseling, job search advising, outplacement consulting, and business etiquette training. More information is available at www.KarensCareerCoaching.com