Gratitude, as the philosopher Cicero reminds us, "is not only the greatest virtue of all, but the parent of all others." Did you know, however, that the regular practice of gratitude has also been found to correlate with health, happiness, and longevity? I often recommend to my patients and clients that they keep a "Gratitude Journal" wherein each night before drifting off to sleep they are to write down something for which they were grateful that day. Doing so for just 8 weeks is associated with fewer sick-visits to primary care clinicians and increased volume in one's dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex - the part of the brain that controls executive functioning, decision-making, and emotional regulation.
As it turns out, several other gratitude offspring can likewise increase health, happiness, and longevity. The first letters of these five key attitudes lend themselves nicely to one of my favorite contrivances - the acrostial mnemonic (memory) device:
GEICO (I don't think the insurance company will mind)