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    Something to Think About: Gratitude Empowers Compassion

a medical staff person, nurse, doctor comforting a patient, holding their hands

What is the perfect way to repay for your gratitude?

Dear friend,

As I write these words and you read them, someone on our planet is very thirsty with no water in sight, someone is very hungry with no access to food, someone is lonely with no hope for a kind word, and someone is being physically harmed with no one to help.

I hope no hurt, physical or emotional, unintentional or intentional, ever goes unattended. But that hope is unlikely to be met in my lifetime. We have eradicated smallpox, but we haven’t eradicated child abuse. We have prolonged survival for many chronic diseases, but the depression rates globally continue to increase. We keep getting wealthier but not happier. Overall, we have done a great job of improving the physical world but have lagged miserably with influencing the emotional world. Clearly we have a lot of work to do.

If at this moment I am not experiencing physical or emotional torment (as many of my countless fellow beings are), I have a responsibility. I have a responsibility to be grateful; to think, speak, and do good; and to feel compassion toward those who are suffering. If I don’t think gratitude and feel compassion, then not only am I missing out on life, but I am not fulfilling my responsibility, and I am not being just to those who are suffering.

If I have an opportunity today to be grateful, then I have a responsibility to be compassionate. The things that I am grateful for boost my energy, which I should use to power my compassionate thoughts, words, and actions. We don’t need stellar new technologies to create a happier world. We need to harness the power of gratitude and compassion.

May you be more grateful and compassionate; may you recognize that it’s truly a privilege to be grateful and compassionate.

Take care.


Dr. Sood 2
Read previous blog posts, and follow @AmitSoodMD on Twitter.

Dr. Sood is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program on Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus in Minnesota. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.

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