Thankfulness is important because my father (may he rest in peace) always told me to write my thank you notes.
Just kidding… or am I?
My Dad was a wonderful person and a very wise man. He understood how things work across cultures and societies and history and time. He understood how things work between people. So I take his guidance and wisdom seriously. Knowing that he put great stock in teaching his children to express thankfulness, is a definite indication that thankfulness is important.
But the proof of its importance goes far beyond the personal.
Multiple research studies, such as this one, conducted to measure the expression of gratitude, have found that it correlates strongly and positively with feelings of well-being. Happy people are grateful…and it turns out that grateful people are also happy.
Important points relating to gratitude include:
·Gratitude has been found by many to be the MOST important of all virtues
Anecdotal stories report the effects of expressing gratitude on individual lives. At the end of this blog post we’ll jump into our own gratitude experience and explore the effects in our own lives over the course of a few weeks.
We’ll explore teachings about gratitude from the scriptures of various world religions, in great detail, as time goes on.
The point I want to make right here, up front, is that the importance of expressing gratitude, both to God and to each other, is a point on which the world’s scriptures AGREE.
Different spiritual traditions may bring in variations and nuances on different aspects of gratitude, but the basic concept is the same across cultures and religions.
Thankfulness as a point of agreement between social and demographic groups
The importance of gratitude as a point of agreement between social and demographic groups is one of the reasons I chose it as the focus of my blog.
There are so many issues causing division in the world today. Many of these issues, including the points of disagreement that people feel about them, are important and need to be resolved. But we won’t be able to come together and resolve them, unless we first find common ground we all can stand on together.
Gratitude….to God, to each other, and for the positive things in life…can be that common ground.
Grateful people address each other kindly and in a respectful manner. They focus on the positive and work towards building bridges of mutual appreciation and respect.
My goal in this blog is to fill the world with gratitude as we work together to create that common ground for a respectful global dialogue on the important issues of our day.
Why the world needs thankfulness now
Individually and collectively, we are living in trying times. Many people have experienced economic hardship since the economic collapse of 2008. Millions have become refugees. The environment is in peril. The global dialogue has taken on a tone of harshness and incivility. Things seem to be going from bad to worse. It often appears that the world is going to heck in a handbasket.
As I’ve shared in earlier blog posts, I experienced a mini version of this global scenario, in my personal life, since 2010. Nothing I tried was working, all paths were closed, and I found myself heading rapidly towards the Pit of Despair.
Thankfulness came to me as the personal path I should take to reverse this negative trend.
If it works for me, it should work for you, too.
It should work for all of us, and for the planet as a whole.
Be thankful. That was the advice I got, when I turned to God for a solution to my personal mini version of destructive doom.
I’m a teacher and a writer. I’ve worked long and hard to create a global platform to teach and share ideas, and I was given the guidance to focus on thankfulness as the topic to share about.
Research has shown, and continues to show, that thankfulness produces positive results in people’s lives. The worlds’ scriptures have emphasized the importance of thankfulness, for thousands of years.
(But is anyone listening? In scripture, God often expresses frustration about the percentage of the world’s population that are thankful. Let’s pay attention and change that).
What can thankfulness do for YOU?
Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, has created many wonderful resources that explore this subject in depth, from a scientific perspective:
His book, Gratitude Works! provides detailed explanations as to why gratitude is so important, and includes a 21 day gratitude challenge that guides you in using gratitude to improve your prosperity. I encourage you to purchase and read this book now.
The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating.
We’ve seen the research and read the reports; now let’s put gratitude to the test in our OWN lives and see for ourselves.