Friday, 25 November 2011

Thanksgiving

We celebrated Thanksgiving this week with some American friends. What struck me most was not the gravy made with ginger snaps or the very sweet sweet potato dish that we eat with the turkey, but the fact that after the meal everyone round the table listed something that they were thankful for - it was powerful stuff; new jobs, babies, 40 years of marriage, the best year of marriage so far, work, friends etc were all mentioned. Not only did it create a sense of joy, it also helped me to remember to be more thankful. A large amount of recent work has suggested that people who are more grateful have higher levels of well-being. Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships. Thankfulness also doesn't just help your wellbeing; Adam Smith, better known for his economic treatise The Wealth of Nations, also wrote extensively on thankfulness; he believed that gratitude was essential for society, motivating reciprocation of aid when no other legal or economic incentive encouraged its repayment.

It's time I was more thankful.

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