CREDOS : Gratitude — I

Valerie Minard

In a survey commissioned by, 84 per cent of Americans said expressing gratitude reduces stress and depression and fosters better health and optimism. But is gratitude merely having a positive attitude, looking at the cup as half-filled rather than empty? My friend Martha believes it’s more than that. She found gratitude was a powerful tool to break a slide into depression. In late 2002, Martha found herself in the middle of several life-changing transitions. She had just changed jobs from a very intense and focused position, with a strong sense of mission and purpose, to one that had involved the need to be more self-starting. Her family had just moved to a different state, so she was also dealing with a new location and environment which brought strain to her marriage.

While each step had been led by prayer, she couldn’t help feeling a bit lost. She wondered how to define herself. “What is my mission and purpose now?” she asked herself. “Where do I fit in? What do I need to be doing?” But the answers didn’t come. Without any of her previous landmarks, Martha began to spiral downward. She continued to pray about this, but things just got worse, until one day it got so bad that she couldn’t get out of bed. “I was just completely immobilised,” she says now. “It seemed like there wasn’t anything good in my life.” She felt like she had reached the bottom and couldn’t go any lower. So there she lay, in a mental fog that made it difficult even to pray. But then, one simple idea came. She recalls thinking, “For heavens sake, at least you can be grateful for one thing, just find one thing.” —