The science behind gratitude
You may think that those words are foolish a science behind gratitude! Yet when I think back over all the times that Betty looked into my eyes and said," You don't know how grateful I am to you you don't have to do this."Betty was partially correct. There was no law or rule that said that I had to be kind and caring towards her but there most definitely was a force within me that pulled at my heart and soul and made me aware that if not me, then who would help to keep her going? I saw how people looked the other way. I observed people's comments but I was not aware of any benevolent action that would benefit her. I started to see first hand how Betty started to count on my kindness. I saw how my kindness improved her state of well-being and I started to become aware that her gratitude towards me helped to shift her thoughts and behavior as she wanted to get more involved in mundane events such as cooking her meals. She started to have an interest in watching me cut a carrot or prepare a certain dish. Her interest was peaked and her desire to ask questions and get involved was woven into the fibers of her daily routine. She began to cherish some basic fundamental life experiences as her mental and physical health improved.
I started to realize that there is a science behind gratitude. It is intertwined with the act of compassion and the sharing and caring of another. Psychologists are becoming consciously aware of the many benefits from a systematic cultivation of gratitude for both the giver and receiver. I see the many ways that I enriched Betty's life but please know that she equally enriched my life in ways that I am only beginning to understand.
Dr. Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California at Davis, the gratitude researcher has said that grateful people enjoy a higher level of positive emotions, are more alert, more fulfilled and more optimistic about life in general.
I do not question that my kindness gave new meaning to Betty and her life. She looked forward to seeing me and frequently said: This is fun. The more fun she experienced the more aware I became of the multiple advantages that she was receiving. She walked with a spring in her step, her eating improved and her willingness to cultivate her mind through word games was all the reward that I needed to keep up my efforts to improve her well-being.
Gratitude adds to ones sense of happiness. What a beautiful thought to feel happy. I have discovered the cause and effect of pure happiness and I wanted to share it with you. I hope you too will have the opportunity to experience its benefits. Gratitude is a wonderful virtue to be practiced and enjoyed. It is amazing to see how we as humans can benefit from so much by doing so little.
Joan Marie Ambrose