The science of gratitude:
Everybody knows that “thank you” is good manners, but recent science is demonstrating and proving inarguably that living a life of gratitude is also good for you.
A daily dose of gratitude promotes health, happiness, and positive social relationships, according to studies conducted by leading psychologists at UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and University of Miami. Dr. Robert A. Emmons published his findings in the bestselling book, Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.
In studies ongoing for more than a decade, Dr. Emmons has found that subjects of all ages, genders, races, and spiritual affiliations experience a greater – measurably greater – sense of well-being when they count their blessings with even casual frequency. Writing a three-item gratitude list just once a week for three months has lead Dr. Emmons’ test subjects to feeling up to 35% healthier in mind and body, happier, more fulfilled and more energetic, not to mention more deeply connected with other human beings, than those who did not keep a list of thanksgiving.
When others were asked their opinions of Dr. Emmons gratitude subjects, they were judged as empathetic, helpful, and pro-social, more likely to connect with others, commit to service activities, and even smile more.
Dr. Emmons’ studies found that the people who were consciously grateful:
• Felt better about their lives.
• Were more optimistic.
• Were more energetic.
• Were more enthusiastic.
• Were more determined.
• Were more interested.
• Were more joyful.
• Exercised more.
• Had fewer illnesses.
• Got more sleep.
• Were more likely to have helped someone else.
Related studies have found other benefits as well, all of which could arguably be linked to a grateful mind-set: clearer thinking, better resilience during tough times, higher immune response, less likelihood of being plagued by stress, longer lives, closer family ties, and higher performance in the workplace or academic setting.
Clearly “thank you” is not only good manners. It’s a way of life that can change the world!