If you look up researchers Emmons and McCullough in Google, you’ll get a full search result page about a study they performed in 2003. The study was all about gratitude and how being grateful affects your well-being. The study is fascinating, and I wanted to share.
The researchers had three groups in their study:
- one group was assigned to write about five things they were grateful for that week;
- one group was assigned to write about five things they were irritated or annoyed about that week;
- and the third group was instructed to write about things that happened in general, with no positive and no negative emphasis placed on the events.
The groups wrote for 10 weeks, and once the study was over, those who were assigned gratitude assignments were happier (25% happier) about their lives. They also appeared to be healthier than those who focused on the irritating things. The article I clicked on went on to say that expressing true gratitude proved to be different than simply comparing the positive parts of one’s life with another person’s life.
Want to practice your own version of the study, to boost your health and give you a more optimistic outlook on life? Try one of these gratitude exercises daily (and don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day):
Write 3 new things you’re grateful for.
Journal about 1 good thing that happened today.
Perform one random act of kindness.
Exercise, and/or 10 minutes of deep breathing exercises.
(This list was adapted from this TED talk by Shawn Acher, which I highly recommend you watch.)
However you decide to do it, be grateful. This week and every week, the science proves that being consistently grateful makes you a happier and healthier person. How will you be more grateful each day?