Thanksgiving and the power of gratitude

Most every year for quite a while–fifteen years? the PaleoPathologist has penned a brief page about the value of gratitude. Enjoy! Feel free to share.

Thanksgiving Grace—2019

“Ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists agree: gratitude is a critical element to a happy life.” Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. (and, I might add, ancient religious traditions…)

The Duke Patient Safety Institute finds that writing down 3 good things a day just before bed is better than antidepressants for preventing physician burnout. Brian Sexton MD

“These two people are hard to find in the world. Which two? The one who is first to do a kindness, and the one who is grateful and thankful for a kindness done.” Buddha

Gratitude holds a very high place in the Hindu tradition. There are two facets to it. 1) We must be grateful for everything that we get, but 2) we must not expect any gratitude from others.
Uma Mysorekar, MD, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine 2003

The Jewish and Christian Bibles tells us to be thankful:
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:4-5, about 1000 BC

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. The Apostle Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 about 50 AD

Islam actually mandates gratitude:
Which of the favors of your Lord will you deny? Quran Ch. 55
Islam does not only teach us to thank Allah, but we are also told to thank our parents, our spouses, our friends, neighbors and all those who do any good to us. The Prophet said: “Those who do not thank people, they do not thank Allah.” (Al-Tirmidhi 1878)

Why does God tell us to be thankful? Is this God’s ego trip? I don’t think so. I think it’s ultimately what’s best for me. Being thankful is the ultimate selfish act. I am happier and healthier when I’m grateful.

Cicero, 100 BC: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

Dale Carnegie, in How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Rule 4 in Seven Ways to Peace and Happiness: Count your blessings, not your troubles.

“Insufficient appreciation and savoring of the good events in your past and overemphasis of the bad ones are the two culprits that undermine serenity, contentment, and satisfaction…gratitude amplifies the savoring and appreciation of the good events gone by…” Martin Seligman PhD

“Yes, there is a ‘secret to happiness’—and it is gratitude. All happy people are grateful, and ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that it is being unhappy that leads people to complain, but it is truer to say that it is complaining that leads to people becoming unhappy. Become grateful and you will become a much happier person.” Dennis Prager, in Happiness is a Serious Problem:

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G. K. Chesterton

Those who are not grateful soon begin to complain of everything. Thomas Merton

Thank you for our many blessings. Help us to bring awareness for the good in our lives. Help us to notice, celebrate, and be grateful for the many gifts in our lives. Amen.
James M. Small MD PhD