The Awesome value of Gratitude

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I wish I could say that I’ve always shown as much gratitude as I should for the tremendous sacrifice our troops have made and especially for the families who have lost loved ones to the  wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the truth is I haven’t. It is so easy to be comfortable in our own lives and somehow lose our sensitivity to what others sacrifice to make the kind of lifestyle we enjoy possi

There was a recent article on the “Political Punch” entitled “The 1%” By Jake Tappe. It plainly demonstrates the lack of gratitude in this country for the 1% of the population who has fought in two foreign wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, where many have sacrificed their lives. The story centered around one veteran, Matt Flanin, who was part of that one percent who went to war in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Flavin was attached to a SEAL team in Baghdad, Ramadi and Fallujah, Iraq gathering intelligence in 2005 and 2006. Later he served in eastern Afghanistan before he came to Washington DC at the end of his service tenure. Matt came home and worked as the director of the White House’s Office of Veterans and Wounded Warrior Policy. Flavin says it is disgusting to see how negative people are about trivial things here at home while the soldiers are risking their lives at war a long way from all the connivances of home.

There seems to be a great disconnect between the American people and the war effort. Everyone seems to be just going about the everyday routine with no thoughts of the war that is going on. Flavin says, “One father of a man who received an award posthumously told us the American people would rather think about anything other than the men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s hard not to be a little bit angry when you see the tremendous sacrifice that some have paid in this war, while others have been completely unaffected.”

Maybe you say, “I was not for the war in the first place.” That really has nothing to do with expressing gratitude. You might be wondering how to express gratitude concerning the war. If you know someone who has lost a loved one, a letter of appreciation to them for the sacrifice that they and their loved one have made would be in order, or a letter of appreciation to anyone you know who is now serving overseas. The benefit to those would be great, knowing there are those here at home appreciate them for what they are doing.

It is obvious most people like appreciation, but it is elusive as to why people are so slow to express appreciation to others. If the benefits were known that come from showing gratitude, perhaps more people would express it more often. It makes a person feel good for someone to tell them that they made a difference in their lives by something that they said or did,

Researchers are saying today that the reward for expressing gratitude is better health and without any special diet or exercise.

Robert Emmons, the psychology professor University of California Davis. Says,” Thousands of years of literature talk about the benefits of cultivating gratefulness as a virtue.”   Philosophers and religious leaders throughout history have said that gratitude has an integral connection to well-being and good health. Recent studies are confirming those observations.

People who express gratitude experience better health because, according to research, they eat healthier food, exercise more and take better care of their body.

Gratitude has many values for both the person showing it as well as those receiving it. Sadly, however, gratitude is one of the rarest attributes of humanity. That is really too bad for all concerned. I believe if more understood the values of gratitude that a lot more gratitude would be shown. Below are some of those values:

Gratitude Reduces Stress

Stress has been connected to just about every deadly disease including cancer and heart disease, so there is no doubt that stress can make us sick; up to 90% of visits to the doctor are stress related. Dr. Robert Emmons says, “Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress.”

Gratitude Builds the Immune System

Hand and hand with paying gratitude is another attribute, “optimism” that builds the immune system according to Dr. Lisa Aspinwall PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Utah. This determination came about by experiments of students under equal stress where those who were optimistic showed higher number blood cells to protect the immune system.


With so many positive benefits, you would think more people would have discovered the value of gratitude by now and use it regularly, but apparently, not so; things seem to be moving along in the same old way as people rush through life looking out primarily for #1 with little concern for anyone else. I challenge you to express gratitude for a few days each opportunity you have, and see how it lights up the lives of others and gives you a feeling of satisfaction.

About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. There are hundreds of articles to help you on this website (Website Contents) in your personal growth.


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