A Simple ‘Thanks’ May Boost Well-being, From the Harvard Mental Health Letter

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Expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better.

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Before digging into Thanksgiving dinner, it is customary to take a moment to give thanks for the people and events that positively shape our lives. But, as the November 2011 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter reveals, it may be beneficial to express gratitude on a more regular basis.

Research shows that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Reflecting on what one is grateful for results in more positive emotions, greater satisfaction from good experiences, improved health, greater ability to deal with adversity, and stronger relationships.

Editor in Chief Dr. Michael Miller notes that whether someone is thankful for past blessings, present happenings, or is focused on remaining positive for the future, expressing gratitude forces him to refocus on what he has instead of what he lacks. And, while any expression of gratitude is likely to boost morale, like a muscle, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.

This month’s issue reviews the benefits of gratitude and offers advice on how to cultivate this state of mind, from writing a thank you note to praying or meditating.

Read the full-length article:“In praise of gratitude”

Other topics covered in this issue include:

  •     Preventing mental illness in children with depressed parents
  •     Causes of common memory lapses
  •     Could nicotine boost weight loss?
  •     Best psychotherapy for social anxiety disorder
  •     People with borderline personality disorder often recover with time
  •     Sleeping problems increase chances of cognitive decline
  •     Is it possible to become addicted to chocolate?

The Harvard Mental Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $59 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/mental or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Media: Contact Raquel Schott at Raquel_Schott(at)hms(dot)harvard(dot)edu for a complimentary copy of the newsletter, or to receive our press releases directly.

Harvard Health Publications
Contact: Raquel Schott

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