What Science Says About Gratitude
Being grateful can be difficult when we’re on the precipice of the unknown. It can be a struggle to go from our current mental state to one of gratitude when we’re encapsulated in fear and anxiety. We’ve all heard that gratitude cultivates more gratitude, but is that really the case?
Here’s what science says about the benefits of gratitude and why starting a gratitude practice today should be at the top of your to-do list.
Pay it Forward. We all know practicing gratitude is good for us, but a study published in the Psychological Bulletin suggests the benefits go much deeper than that. The research shows that expressing gratitude creates a cyclical effect, where those who feel thankful are more likely to help others, and those who receive thanks are more likely to do good deeds. Gratitude acts as a moral barometer.
Write it Down. A research paper published in Psychological Science explores how gratitude affects both the receiver and the sender. An important finding from the study was that people who gave thanks greatly undervalued how much the receiver would appreciate the gratitude. In fact, receiving thanks encouraged more giving behavior. It also found that people who wrote letters of gratitude, whether they sent them or not, had continued positive mood improvement beyond the time frame of the study.
Count Your Blessings. In this study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers looked at the physical and emotional effects of gratitude on participants. Groups that focused on writing down their blessings and finding things to be grateful for reported better overall outcomes than those who focused on what irritated them, or who did not participate in the writing exercises.
Are you ready to get grateful? Check out our Shamata practice here.