A Shot Of Gratitude For Thanksgiving

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Don’t worry. Be grateful. And you’ll be happy. Thanksgiving is once more upon us — that annual ritual of family, feasting and gratitude. And we know that we are living in anxious times, but still we remain citizens of a beautiful, brave, creative country — brimming with blessings material and spiritual.

So as the family gathers and the holiday invites you to reflect on those blessings, we think you might enjoy some interesting research on the benefits of gratitude.

For instance, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan asked students to write “gratitude letters” and monitored their mood, according to a story in Psychology Today.

Every student reported an improvement in mood and that improvement persisted after they wrote the letters.

The same thing happened when doctors at the University of California at Davis organ transplant center asked a group of patients to keep a “gratitude journal,” with each one making note of five things that made them thankful. When compared to a control group, the people who kept a gratitude journal reported improved mental health, well-being and vitality.

Steven Toepfer at Kent State University undertook a similar experiment, asking students to write three letters of gratitude over a six-week period. The students reported an improvement in mood and higher levels of happiness. Another study of 65 couples in satisfying, long-term relationships found the nearly daily expressions of gratitude to one another distinguished those romantically satisfied couples from a control group, according to an article published in Personal Relationships.

We just wanted to pass that along, before the kids and family and friends and cousins gather for the celebrations.

Oh — and one more thing.

We want to thank you, our beloved readers.

You have made it possible for us to do what we love. You’ve stuck with us through the hard times, when you had other things on which you could have spent the cost of a subscription. We are grateful that you believe in newspapers enough to give us the precious opportunity to serve this community.

We have so much to be grateful for — and it all starts with you, our readers and advertisers.

Gosh. It works. We feel so happy now. So thank you. And have a great Thanksgiving.

Lessons for lawmakers in medical marijuana vote

Here’s a puzzle. Arizona voters approved a sharp shift to the right in the Legislature and among statewide officials. They also approved medical marijuana — for the third time. Why did the voters support candidates that for the most part opposed medical marijuana — but also narrowly approve the initiative measure?

We suspect the vote offers testament to the libertarian leanings of an electorate increasingly irritated by the behavior of elected officials and the bungled attempts by government to solve the vital and pressing problems voters face.

We think voters are simply fed up with campaigns and personal attacks and misleading campaign commercials pumped out by politicians more eager to provoke headlines than solve problems.

We’re glad that the Arizona Department of Health Services is moving promptly to draw up regulations to prevent abuse of the newly approved system of dispensaries to provide medical marijuana for a specific and limited list of medical problems.

We’re also glad the Legislature has so far done nothing to overtly thwart the will of the voters. Of course, the Legislature may well do something rash and disrespectful once the new lawmakers actually take their seats — but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, at least for now.

We hope that the Legislature will take two messages from the conundrum.

First, voters don’t want a heavy-handed government telling them what to do — nor sitting in on their conversations with their doctors. Second, the voters aren’t ideologues who have signed onto the party line — either party line.

Republicans triumphed largely because the Democrats nationally lost sight of the main concern of the voters — the jobless rate, the sickly economy and the heavy-hand of government. The medical marijuana vote has a deep lesson for them — solve the state’s economic problems not lurch off on some sort of ideological crusade.

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