Science Shows How The Magic of Gratitude Works

how the magic of gratitude works

When life gets hard, it’s important to keep track of the good parts too, even the simple little things we can be thankful for each day. It could be something like “the neighbor’s flower garden is so beautiful” or “I really liked the new flavor of ice cream I tried today.” This gratitude habit truly can make us feel a little bit better.

This might sound too easy, but scientists have actually done research on how gratitude is good for us.

The science of gratitude.

About twenty years ago, a psychologist named Robert A. Emmons discovered that feeling and expressing gratitude can make people feel happier and more content. His work sparked many more studies, which found that gratitude can even improve our physical health.

Dr. Emmons said, “Gratitude heals, energizes and changes lives. It is the prism through which we view life in terms of gifts, givers, goodness and grace.” 

Gratitude means recognizing the good things in our life and appreciating that these blessings often come from others.

We not only need to feel gratitude, it’s important to express it too.

flowers with thank you tag to express gratitude

But merely feeling grateful isn’t enough according to Philip Watkins, professor of psychology at Eastern Washington University. Expressing gratitude is equally important to reap the benefits of this emotion,” he said.

Sharing gratitude can lead to better mental health and stronger relationships. Studies have shown that gratitude activities like writing thank you letters or jotting down the positive things in our lives can make us happier and less anxious.

Gratitude can strengthen relationships. They call this “social glue”. Whether it’s with a friend, a coworker, or a romantic partner, showing your appreciation can make your bond stronger. Sara Algoe, psychologist at the University of North Carolina, says gratitude helps bind us more closely to others.

It’s not just the person who gives or receives gratitude that benefits – even people who see someone else being grateful can feel more positive.

How often should we practice gratitude?

While there’s no strict rule, many experts suggest incorporating gratitude into your daily routine. The best way is by writing down what you’re thankful for every day. 

As Albert Schweitzer the philosopher and Nobel laureate said, “At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

We need to be specific when showing gratitude.

Specificity in expressing gratitude can also make it more meaningful. Instead of just saying a generic “Thank you!” try to be more precise. For example: “Thanks for picking up the dry cleaning today. This dress makes me feel wonderful for our dinner out tonight.”

Author William Arthur Ward once said, Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” 

So let’s unwrap that present and make our lives and relationships better through the practice of gratitude.

will you give the gift of gratitude

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