Learning how to experience gratitude involves being grateful as a attitude, not as a reaction when good things occur. One does not need to wait until things are perfect before being grateful; in fact, it may be just the opposite. It could be that the act of being grateful, in itself, makes one receptive to life's blessings, and these blessings continue as we continue to be thankful.
The study of gratitude is one that looks at moral barometers, emotions, and the effect this feeling has on health and happiness. In fact, G. K. Chesterton said, "The test of all happiness is gratitude." Emmons draws from gratitude research projects that followed participants who were randomly selected to write down either the things they were grateful for or items of complaint over a period of ten weeks. The study showed that gratitude led to more positive emotional states and inspired people to be more helpful to others.
The act of gratitude is one that provides gifts to the giver and receiver. The illuminating words of this book will inspire readers to recognize how truly blessed we are. This has been beautifully stated by the words of Brother David Steindl-Rast, "Love wholeheartedly, be surprised, give thanks and praise—then you will discover the fullness of your life."
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About the Author
Robert A. Emmons, PhD, is professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, where he has taught for the past thirteen years. In his research, he explores how religiousness and spirituality may reflect core aspects of identity and how these aspects of self are involved in well-being and personality. He is the author of over sixty research articles and book chapters. His most recent book is the Psychology of Ultimate Concerns: Motivation and Spirituality in Personality.
Joanna Hill received her MA in religious studies from the Academy of the New Church Theological School in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, where she currently resides.