The science is in! And it undoubtedly proves that gratitude is more than just a simple sentiment. Studies link gratitude to a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, better sleep quality, reduced risk of heart disease, and better kidney function. But the benefits of living a life in gratitude extend much further than purely physical.
A study out of the University of California, Riverside, reported that grateful people experience more optimism, joy, enthusiasm, and other positive emotions, and they have a deeper appreciation for life’s simple pleasures. These researchers also found that by expressing gratitude for people in your life, like a friend or romantic partner, you can report higher levels of satisfaction in relationships. The most intriguing fact to come out of this study though was that gratitude is a skill that can be learned and nurtured, much like perfecting your Grandmother’s secret recipe.
Gratitude, however, doesn’t always come naturally. In our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the things that go wrong and feel like we’re living under our own private rain cloud; at the same time, we tend to adapt to the good things and people in our lives, taking them for granted. As a result, we often overlook everyday beauty and goodness—a kind gesture from a stranger, say, or the warmth of our heater on a chilly morning. That is why it is so important that we make it a priority to live our life in gratitude. Intentionally developing a grateful outlook helps us all recognize the good in our life and acknowledge that these things are truly “gifts” that we are fortunate to receive. Below you will find simple actions we can take to start making gratitude a habit.
The science behind gratitude
We have partnered with UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center to provide you with these scientific facts. Click on an item below to expand and reveal more.
Research by Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California, Riverside, and others has found that grateful people experience more optimism, joy, enthusiasm, and other positive emotions, and they have a deeper appreciation for life’s simple pleasures.
Grateful teens are more satisfied with their lives, more engaged at school, have higher grades, and are less materialistic.
In one study, people who benefitted from a kind act later spent significantly more time helping others than non-grateful people did.
People who feel grateful show stronger self-control and are better at delaying gratification, rather than making more impulsive, short-sighted spending decisions.