Happy 2020 – Gratitude
What Is Gratitude?
Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that gratitude has two key components, which he describes in a Greater Good essay, “Why Gratitude Is Good.”
“First,” he writes, “it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.”
In the second part of gratitude, he explains, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”
Emmons and other researchers see the social dimension as being especially important to gratitude. “I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion, “writes Emmons, “because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”
Because gratitude encourages us not only to appreciate gifts but to repay them (or pay them forward), the sociologist Georg Simmel called it “the moral memory of mankind.” This is how gratitude may have evolved: by strengthening bonds between members of the same species who mutually helped each other out.
As 2020 begins, my message is one of thanks and gratitude. Sometimes very simple or tiny daily actions can change a mood or the mood of someone else. Plan to make a greater effort to remember to say ”Thank you” when someone holds the door for you or does anything for you. Say it with a smile. A little kindness goes a long way in the long run.
I would like to thank all of you for the parts we play in each other’s lives, big or small. I am fortunate that I truly enjoy what I do every day, helping others to feel better through exercise, movement and educating people about wellness. It is incredibly rewarding when I get the opportunity to see someone succeed and improve. I feel blessed that I get to play that part in so many people’s lives.
What’s in store for 2020? Stay tuned for the wellness challenges to help motivate you. The challenges certainly keep me on track. I went completely off my no-sugar kick since Thanksgiving — detox starts tomorrow. I just signed up for a 10-mile trail run in early March. I am seriously considering a 42-mile walk/hike in mid-March with a friend of mine on the Appalachian Trail. We hope to get it done in under 12 hours. We now have a Peloton in the house. Marcie and I are very excited to experience spinning on a regular basis and see the impact it has on our running and other aspects of fitness.
Set your goals now, stick to them, and believe in yourself. Consistency is the key and the easiest way to stay on track. It is much easier to be consistent if you exercise every day than if you choose to do it a few days a week. A great tip is to make yourself choose not to work out instead of choosing to work out.
Best wishes to all of you for a healthy and wonderful 2020.