In our last +1, we talked about the power of gratitude.
We soaked up some science-wisdom from Robert Emmons, the leading researcher on gratitude, who told us that gratitude is the best approach to life. When things are going well, it amplifies the awesome. When things aren’t going so well, it gives us perspective to deal with temporary adversity.
Then for the kicker: “And this is what grateful people do. They have learned to transform adversity into opportunity no matter what happens, to see existence itself as a gift.”
Robert is basically THE world’s leading researcher on the science of just how powerful gratitude is. He and his colleague Mike McCullough were the first researchers to show the astounding benefits of keeping a gratitude journal.
Their first study showed a 25% (!!!) boost in happiness by journaling about 5 things for which you were grateful once a week for 10 consecutive weeks. (We actually talked about the research from his first book Thanks! a few years ago in +1 #24. 🤓)
I’ll let him tell us about the PROFOUND benefits of gratitude.
Here’s how he puts it in Gratitude Works!: “As showcased in my previous book Thanks!, groundbreaking research has shown that when people regularly cultivate gratitude, they experience a multitude of psychological, physical, interpersonal, and spiritual benefits. Gratitude has one of the strongest links to mental health and satisfaction with life of any personality trait—more so than even optimism, hope, or compassion. Grateful people experience higher levels of positive emotions such as joy, enthusiasm, love, happiness, and optimism, and gratitude as a discipline protects us from the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, greed, and bitterness. People who experience gratitude can cope more effectively with everyday stress, show increased resilience in the face of trauma-induced stress, recover more quickly from illness, and enjoy more robust physical health. Many of these effects are quantifiable. Consider these eye-popping statistics. People are 25 percent happier if they keep gratitude journals, sleep one-half hour more per evening, and exercise 33 percent more each week compared to persons who are not keeping these journals. … Experiencing gratitude leads to increased feelings of connectedness, improved relationships, and even altruism. We have also found that when people experience gratitude, they feel more loving, more forgiving, and closer to God.”
So… Wondering whether or not “Gratitude Works”?!
The science is UNEQUIVOCAL. Grateful people are, on basically EVERY measure, healthier and happier than less grateful people.
I laughed as I typed that out realizing that I’m basically a virtue salesman. (Hah.) Constantly selling you on the fact that VIRTUE is where it’s at if we want to win the ultimate game of life.
Continuing my “sales” efforts, let’s recap those EYE-POPPING (!!!) stats and add a few more to the bucket.
First: This is definitely worth a re-read: “People are 25 percent happier if they keep gratitude journals, sleep one-half hour more per evening, and exercise 33 percent more each week compared to persons who are not keeping these journals.”
Want to be TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT happier? Keep a gratitude journal. Want to sleep more? Be grateful. One to move more? Be grateful.
Pulling the fundamental thread a bit more: I’d be willing to bet that grateful people ALSO eat better, breathe more deeply (and experience more calm, energized tranquility vs. enervated anxiety), are more present and go forward with more hope.
Robert also tells us: “Dozens of research studies with diverse participant groups have also revealed that the practice of gratitude leads to the following:
– Increased feelings of energy, alertness, enthusiasm, and vigor Success in achieving personal goals
– Better coping with stress
– Bolstered feelings of self-worth and self-confidence Generosity and helpfulness
– Improved cardiac health through increases in vagal tone Greater sense of purpose and resilience”
It does a mind body soul good.
Shall we practice it Today?