With the holiday season in full swing, I have been getting excited about sharing some tips on fueling your life with even more positivity, more blessings and more joy. The secret? Gratitude!
Gratitude seems to have an undeniably positive, albeit difficult to explain, effect on they who practice it. While the study of gratitude is in its infancy, there already exists a body of research with mostly positive evidence in support of the tie between practicing gratitude and an overall sense of well-being (Sansone & Sansone, 2010). Results of a study by leading scientific researcher on gratitude Robert Emmons and co-author Michael McCullough (2003) found that gratitude listing participants reported more satisfaction with their lives as a whole, felt more connected with others and had greater optimism for the coming week than did participants in the control group.
Positive psychology research studies have shown that there is a strong, consistent association between gratitude and greater happiness (Harvard University, 2011).
Researchers at Berekely have found that gratitude:
- Unshackles us from toxic emotions
- Helps even if you don’t share it
- Benefits take time (study showed difference after 4 weeks’ practice writing gratitude letters)
- Has lasting effects on the brain (Wong & Brown, 2017)
Practicing gratitude can lead to positive health benefits and greater satisfaction in life so why not take the opportunity today to start?
Harvard University (2011) gives some fantastic suggestions on how to make gratitude practice a simple part of your life:
-Write a thank-you note
-Thank someone mentally
-Keep a gratitude journal
-Count your blessings
I am particularly a fan of gratitude journaling. It is a great activity for right when you wake up and/or right before bed. What better way to start and end your day than with sending out vibrations of gratitude that are bound to attract more of the same to you?
Emmons, R.A. & McCullough, M.E. (2003). Counting blessings vs. burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.
Harvard University (2011). In praise of gratitude. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude
Wong, J. & Brown, J. (2017). How gratitude changes you and your brain. Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain