Neuroscientists have found that if you really feel it when you say it, you’ll be happier and healthier. The regular practice of expressing gratitude is not a New Age fad; it’s a facet of the human condition that reaps true benefits to those who mean it.
Psychologists Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis and Dr. Michael McCullough of the University of Miami published a study in 2015 that looked at the physical outcomes of practicing gratitude. One third of the subjects in the study were asked to keep a daily journal of things that happened during the week for which they were grateful. Another third was asked to write down daily irritations or events that had displeased them. The last third of the group was asked to write down daily situations and events with no emphasis on either positive or negative emotional attachment. At the end of the 10-week study, each group was asked to record how they felt physically and generally about life.
The gratitude group reported feeling more optimistic and positive about their lives than the other groups. In addition, the gratitude group was more physically active and reported fewer visits to a doctor than those who wrote only about their negative experiences. (1) They found that gratitude literally re-wires your brain to be happier:
In times of hardship or stress it might seem difficult to be grateful. But if you really think about it, we all have something to be grateful for. . Here are three easy ways to put yourself in the mindfulness of gratitude.
- Keep a daily journal of things you are grateful for—list at least three. The best times for writing in your journal are in the morning as your day begins or at night before sleep.
- Make it a point to tell people in your life what you appreciate about them on a daily basis.
- When you look in the mirror, give yourself a moment to think about a quality you like about yourself or something you have recently accomplished.
For 47 tips on how to make gratitude a part of your day, go to...sayitwithgratitude.com
I’m Scott Colby with Say It With Gratitude and this has been your Daily Gratitude Minute. Cheers.