Photo by sealion of SacramentoOn Thanksgiving weekend, we are all taking time to acknowledge what we’re grateful for. It’s a nice gesture, of course, but why do we do it? What good is gratitude?

For more than a decade, researchers have studied the effects of gratitude on physical health, on psychological well-being, and on our relationships with others.

The results have been overwhelming. Studies of more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:

• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness

• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.

(READ the article in Greater Good from UC Berkeley)