The Science of Gratitude: It’s not just for Thanksgiving anymore

We all know that we should be thankful for what we have, hopefully not just at Thanksgiving, but all the time. But did you know that it can be good for you as well? Research shows that the more you practice an attitude of gratefulness, the greater the effect. Gratitude confers a multitude of benefits, such as increased health, social connectedness, feelings of well-being and energy, as well as decreased feelings of depression, greed and envy and decreased substance abuse.

It’s worth cultivating the habit of being grateful, if you aren’t already. It’s in our nature to focus on the negative instead of the positive, even though different research has shown that we generally have at least three positive experiences for every negative one. Focusing on the positive and counting blessings, instead of burdens, can have a measurable effect on your health and your sense of well being. Not only that, but it has positive effects for the people around you. People who feel grateful are more likely to help another person and more likely to recognize the beneficial actions of others.

Dr. Emma Seppala writes this on “In a number of studies, psychologists have shown that in children and adults, gratitude has incredible benefits:

  • Gratitude increases social connection – which studies show is essential for health and well-being.
  • Gratitude increases altruism – which is a strong predictor of happiness.
  • Gratitude decreases depression and improves optimism and positive emotions which in turn increase well-being, boost creativity, benefit relationships, and impact longevity.
  • Gratitude improves health and well-being for people suffering from physical ailments.

When the Negativity Bias occurs, closing our eyes and counting our blessings can help give us a reality check.”

Now we just have to remember this all year long, not only at Thanksgiving.

Watch “The Science of Happiness -An Experiment in Gratitude” on YouTube