Gratitude and Oomph!
One of the next videos we are working on is in part based on the person that inspired oomphTV…. my own 80-year old mother. Jeanne Dowell, along with my sister, Dana Windatt, recently launched an eco-friendly clothing line, called “Green Buddha.” (see more photos of the Green Buddha event on oomphTV’s Facebook page). The clothing and accessories are all based on the spirit of Gratitude. You can check them out at: Green Buddha
Today I finished reading an ongoing research project about Gratitude that is being done at UC Davis. The findings are interesting and I had to share them with you.
Gratitude can be a powerfully transformative practice. Psychologists Robert Emmons of U.C. Davis and Michael McCullough of the University of Miami have found that practicing gratitude can actually improve our emotional and physical well-being. Their ongoing research project on Gratitude and Thankfulness has found that people who keep weekly gratitude journals had fewer physical symptoms, exercised more, had a better outlook on life and were more likely to reach their goals.
Gratitude Interventions and Psychological and Physical Well-Being
• In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
• A related benefit was observed in the realm of personal goal attainment: Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
• A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison.
• Participants in the daily gratitude condition were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another, relative to the hassles or social comparison condition.
• In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group.
• Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008).
Measuring the Grateful Disposition
• Well-Being: Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress. The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.
• Prosociality: People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathic and to take the perspective of others. They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002).
• Spirituality: Those who regularly attend religious services and engage in religious activities such as prayer reading religious material score are more likely to be grateful. Grateful people are more likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and a commitment to and responsibility to others (McCullough et. al., 2002). Gratitude does not require religious faith, but faith enhances the ability to be grateful.
• Materialism: Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods; they are less likely to judge their own and others success in terms of possessions accumulated; they are less envious of others; and are more likely to share their possessions with others relative to less grateful persons.
• Oomph: Grateful people have more oomph! (however, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim)
I am proud of my sister and 80-year old mother in more ways than one. Starting a new business, especially an apparel business in these challenging economic times, is no easy task. My sister and mother have done an amazing job and have worked very hard in making Green Buddha happen. The clothing line is beautiful and so are the accessories. Most important, they are reminding people about the power of Gratitude and that can give us all some real oomph!
I am inspired by them both and I’m sure you will too, when you get to see the video. I will let you know.