Why Gratitude?

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
                                                    Volume 16, Number 11
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. With all the stress and divisiveness in our society, it is very easy to forget to give appreciation for what we do have in our lives. Sure, it is easy to worry about politics, inflation, and a variety of many other things. However, we do have a lot to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving is the holiday that reminds us to appreciate what we have.

But gratitude is more than just being thankful. In general, thankfulness is acknowledging that someone has done something for you.

Gratitude is deeper and reflects a recognition of the blessings one has received and the goodness in our lives. It is appreciating what is truly meaningful and then giving thanks for it.

Our November e-Letter is entitled Why Gratitude? Dr. Kimmel’s blog is about Memory and Aging and can be found here.

We hope you find the enclosed information helpful and interesting. We also thank you for reading our e-Letters and for the positive and compassionate comments we have received.

Why Gratitude?

                                                   (Photo by Amadeo Valar)

Why Gratitude?
Because life would have a lot less meaning without appreciation. What would our lives be like if we didn’t show appreciation for what we have, for what we have been given, for the people in our lives that we love, and for our opportunities.

Gratitude is not just saying “Thank you” but a deeper emotion that shows true appreciation to oneself and to others, including a higher power. It reflects a recognition of the qualities we possess and the blessings we have received. It is appreciating what is truly meaningful in our lives and giving thanks for it.

Despite society’s problems, we live in the best of times. Life is a lot easier now than it was years ago. Due to advances in science and technology, we live longer, can eat healthier, can express our freedoms, and be able to travel wherever we want. Many diseases have been eradicated and we have a much higher standard of living.

As an example, almost all of us have devices that we wear or carry that can give us instant video access to friends and family no matter where in the world they are. These devices contain more information than encyclopedias and can provide us with videos on almost any subject we input. We can travel back in time to view pictures and videos from the past as well as observe what may be in store for the future.

But do we take the time to appreciate any or all of this? Are we too busy to be grateful?

Expressing gratitude is a selfless act and intrinsically rewarding. It is done not only to feel good but to show others that they are appreciated and valued. Paying it forward is one way that gratitude can motivate those who have received goodness to perform acts of goodness to others.

In addition, research has shown that gratitude is consistently associated with greater happiness and helps people have good experiences, feel more positive, feel more able to deal with adverse events, and have better relationships. It is more enjoyable to be with people who do express gratitude.

An interesting study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania involved fundraisers. When they were given a pep talk from the director of annual giving who told them that she was grateful for their efforts, the employees made 50% more fundraising calls than those who did not hear the gratitude message.

Being grateful can decrease depression, increase one’s sense of satisfaction in life, and improve one’s overall mental and physical health.

                                                   (Photo by Nathan Lemon)

Expressing gratitude or thankfulness takes effort but can become a daily practice

We offer the following information:

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them… John F. Kennedy


  • Gratitude is the appreciation of what a person finds truly valuable and meaningful
  • Gratitude is more than thankfulness; it is the emotion of a deeper appreciation for someone or something that has enriched our lives
  • Expressing gratitude is a selfless act and lets others know that they are valued
  • Research has shown that having gratitude can:
  • improve your sense of well-being
  • decrease depression
  • increase life satisfaction
  • strengthen relationships
  • improve mental and physical health
  • develop stronger immune systems
  • increase an overall sense of optimism about life
  • Gratitude helps people connect to something larger than themselves such as a higher power, nature, or a divine force
  • Being grateful begins when entitlement ends; it is easy for some people but very difficult for others
  • Gratitude can be reciprocated; performing an act of gratitude to one person may cause them to be gracious back to you or to pay it forward to others
  • Simple exercises such as saying “thank you” or writing “thank you” letters can develop and increase a personal sense of happiness
  • Expressing gratitude is a simple act but may will take some courage and can become a daily practice
  • Gratitude has been viewed as an important virtue necessary for successful civilizations


  • Assess yourself to determine whether you are actually appreciative for what you have
  • Before going to sleep each night, give thanks for all the positive things that have happened during the day
  • Keep a gratitude journal and write down what you have given thanks for
  • Develop a habit of writing “thank you” letters or email for what you have received and thank others for the positive impact they have had on your life
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation by focusing on what you are grateful for
  • Ask friends and family to tell each other what they are grateful for
  • Go out of your way to thank others who have done something for you
  • Find new ways to express gratitude such as keeping a gratitude bank in which you add money for each expression of gratitude, keeping a gratitude chart, etc.
  • Seek professional help if you are feeling depressed and unable to find anything to feel grateful for

Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at [email protected]

        Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
        5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
        Coral Springs FL 33067

As always, we are interested in your thoughts. If you would like to respond to this e-Letter, email your comments to [email protected] and we will publish them next month.

Till December…

The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

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Copyright © 2022 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.