New York World, December, 1900
To my sense, the most imminent dangers confronting the coming century are: the robbing of people of life and liberty under the warrant of the Scriptures; the claims of politics and of human power, industrial slavery, and insufficient freedom of honest competition; and ritual, creed, and trusts in place of the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”
(Mary Baker Eddy, reprinted in Miscellany 266: 3-9)
*Matthew 7: 12 (Golden Rule)
“I’d like to thank the Academy…”
Sunday night the Academy Awards were presented, and as each winner received their Oscar, most thanked individuals who helped them in their career or were inspirational in their lives. It’s heartwarming to see others express their gratitude so openly and profusely. One can’t help but wonder, “Is there a link between success and gratitude?”
Geoffrey James thinks so. In an article for Inc. Magazine – “True Secret for Success (It’s Not What You Think)” he wrote: “…if you want to be successful, you need to feel more gratitude. Fortunately, gratitude, like most emotions, is like a muscle: The more you use it, the stronger and more resilient it becomes.”
Like other authors, James wrote about the importance of keeping a gratitude journal. He wrote, “The best time to exercise gratitude is just before bed. Take out your tablet (electronic or otherwise) and record the events of the day that created positive emotions, either in you or in those around you. Did you help somebody solve a problem? Write it down. Did you connect with a colleague or friend? Write it down. Did you make somebody smile? Write it down.”
He concluded, “The more regularly you practice this exercise, the stronger its effects. Over time, your ‘gratitude muscle’ will become so strong that you’ll attract more success into your life, not to mention greater numbers of successful (i.e., grateful) people. You’ll also find yourself thanking people more often. That’s good for you and for them, too. This method works. If you don’t believe me, try it for at least a week. You’ll be amazed at what a huge difference it makes.”
Gratitude may not only make you successful, but it also has health benefits. In The New York Times, John Tierney wrote, “Cultivating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.”
Tierney spoke of the research done by Robert A. Emmons of the University of California and Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami. They instructed people to keep a gratitude journal and after two months found significant effects – including fewer physical illnesses. They also reported about individuals with neuromuscular problems felt happier and more optimistic when keeping a gratitude journal. They fell asleep more quickly at night, slept longer and woke up feeling more refreshed.
Dr. McCulloch further stated, “More than any other emotion, gratitude is the emotion of friendship. It is part of a psychological system that causes people to raise their estimates of how much value they hold in the eyes of another person. Gratitude is what happens when someone does something that causes you to realize that you matter more to that person than you thought you did.”
The Bible often speaks of the importance of gratitude. David wrote, “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture….be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Ps. 100: 3, 4).
St. Paul once wrote, “In everything give thanks.” Many of us give God thanks when things are going well, but this verse speaks to me of the importance of gratefulness even when crises arise or we are ill. Giving thanks can open thought to the solution to our problems. So even in the worst of times we can give thanks for life, love and a God who loves each of us.
You may not have won an Oscar this week, but there are many things that you can express gratitude for. You can be grateful for your family, friends, home or employment, and especially for God. Then feel the effects of this emotion not only bringing success into your life, but health as well.