Can practicing gratitude be your sweet escape to a better life?

What do Jesus and your favorite self-help guru (think: Oprah) have in common? They both stress the importance of gratitude. Many parents teach their children the importance of saying ”thank you”, but can expressing gratitude actually set you up with more benefits, besides good manners?

A study was conducted in which they split the participants into three groups. The first group was asked to write daily gratitude lists for two weeks, in which they listed the moments they had been grateful for during the day. The second group was asked to write down annoying situations they had encountered, and the third group was asked to write about events that happened to them, in which they felt it somehow affected them. All three groups had to fill out questionnaires prior and after the intervention, to measure their affect, depression symptoms, subjective happiness and satisfaction with life.

They analyzed the results and it showed that not only negative affect and depressive symptoms in the gratitude-group decreased, but also that there were increases in positive affect, subjective happiness, and life satisfaction.

In this pandemic, we might find ourselves searching for additional ways to increase our happiness. Now that science has started to back up the positive effects of expressing gratitude, it might be a good time to pick up your journal and start writing about the things you feel grateful for.

Reference: Cunha LF, Pellanda LC, Reppold CT. Positive Psychology and Gratitude Interventions: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Front Psychol. 2019 Mar 21;10:584. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00584. PMID: 30949102; PMCID: PMC6437090

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