Gratitude

Understanding

Gratitude

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.

Studies link gratitude to a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, better sleep quality, reduced risk of heart disease, and better kidney function.
When someone feels grateful for his or her romantic partner on one day, both partners feel more satisfied with their relationship on the next. And expressing gratitude makes people feel closer to a friend or significant other.

Grateful teens are more satisfied with their lives, more engaged at school, have higher grades, and are less materialistic.

People who aren’t naturally grateful can increase their level of gratitude—and enjoy the benefits—through practice, such as by keeping a gratitude journal.

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.

HERE ARE 2 EXERCISES, PROVIDED BY UC BERKELEY'S GREATER GOOD SCIENCE CENTER, TO HELP YOU BUILD GRATITUDE RIGHT NOW

gratitude journal exercise