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"A GROUNDBREAKING SERIES OF EXPERIMENTS at the University of California, Davis, suggests that counting your blessings leads to improved physical and mental functioning. 'When people consciously practice grateful living, their happiness will go up, and their ability to withstand negative events will improve as does their immunity to anger, envy, resentment, and depression,' said psychologist Robert Emmons, who for nearly 20 years has been studying what makes people happy. . . . Practicing and cultivating gratitude is a core spiritual practice in nearly all of the world's religious traditions, reports Emmons. . . .

"In experiments with college students, participants kept a diary: Some recorded what aspects of their lives they felt grateful for, while others listed life hassles or neutral life events. The gratitude group experienced fewer symptoms of physical illness than those in the other groups. Emmons also found that people in the gratitude group spent significantly more time exercising and were more likely to report having offered emotional support to others."

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