There is no better time to express gratitude than the New Year. Researchers are revealing the amazing emotional and physical effects of expressing gratitude. In one study, participants were more optimistic, felt better about their lives, and visited the doctor less after writing about what they were grateful for everyday for 10 weeks. In another study, participants had a huge surge in happiness scores after being asked to write a thank you letter to someone who had positively impacted their life. Researchers have found that gratitude can even help couples. Partners who frequently express gratitude to each other feel more positive about the relationship and more comfortable when expressing relationship concerns. Even employers can benefit from expressing gratitude to their employees. Employees who are thanked by their managers work harder and have greater job satisfaction. There is an old saying, "We find what we look for." Try looking for and finding all there is to be grateful for in your life.
Here are some suggestions for increasing gratitude in your life:
- Start your day with a list of things you are grateful for.
- Write a thank you letter to someone who changed your life for the better.
- Make a list of 50 things you appreciate about yourself.
- Reflect at the end of each day and come up with 5 things for which you are grateful.
Emmons RA, et al. "Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Feb. 2003): Vol. 84, No. 2, pp. 377-89.
Grant AM, et al. "A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way: Explaining Why Gratitude Expressions Motivate Prosocial Behavior," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (June 2010): Vol. 98, No. 6, pp. 946-55.
Lambert NM, et al. "Expressing Gratitude to a Partner Leads to More Relationship Maintenance Behavior,"Emotion (Feb. 2011): Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 52-60.
Sansone RA, et al. "Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation," Psychiatry (Nov. 2010): Vol. 7, No. 11, pp. 18-22.
Seligman MEP, et al. "Empirical Validation of Interventions," American Psychologist (July-Aug. 2005): Vol. 60, No. 1, pp. 410-21.
Image Attribution: petrograd99/istock.com