Imagine that it is possible to enhance your well-being as easy as by only writing 5 things down you are grateful for at the end of each day. This is what Emmonse and Mccullough (2003) found in their research. They examined the effects of grateful thinking on psychological well-being in daily life by doing three studies.
In these studies participants consisting out of university students (study 1 and 2) and adults with a chronic disease (study 3) were randomly assigned to either a gratitude group or one of the several control conditions.
During the study participants in the gratitude condition had to write down 5 things they were grateful for once a week (study 1) as simple as for example “waking up this morning”. Later they had to keep track of this daily (study 2 and 3). Additionally, to measure well-being, ratings of mood and physical symptoms amongst other things were included.
Emmonse and Mccullough found greater levels of positive affect for people in the gratitude condition and even reductions in negative affect, especially when gratitude diaries were kept on a daily basis over a longer period of time. They also found increased levels of sleep and sleep quality next to greater optimism and feelings of increased connectedness to others. The practice of gratitude thus seems to enhance the well-being of an individual.
So, before you go to bed tonight, try to take those 5 minutes to consciously count your blessings. It will definitely be worth a try.
Emmonse, R. A., & Mccullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.