Science Shows Feeling Grateful Can Improve Your Life
Being grateful leaves us with a great feeling of happiness and content. Now research shows that feeling gratitude has benefits that go beyond mental wellbeing.
A new crowdsourcing project created by writer Jacqueline Lewis and her colleagues gives people the opportunity to allow gratitude to fill their lives making them healthier physically and mentally.
“That is what drove the World Gratitude Map, the idea of giving people the chance to create small moments for themselves, to make themselves rich through their own action,” said Lewis.
Lewis compares the map to a writing exercise that she believes to be capable of shifting a person’s mentality into a healthier state. In this exercise a person is asked to write down three things that he or she is grateful for each and every day.
“It is moving your mind over to this place where I think we should all be, which is to keep our eyes on all that is good, beautiful and possible in the world,” she said.
A study conducted by Psychologist Robert Emmons of the University of California, Davis, along with colleagues published in 2003 suggests that those who recorded things that made them grateful had an improved sense of wellbeing, felt greater sense of optimism, greater connection to others, and even slept better.
“Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits,” Emmons and colleague Michael McCullough wrote in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Emmons also adds that generally speaking research shows a close positive correlation between gratitude and physical benefits such as higher levels of broad positive emotions and a stronger immune system. The World Gratitude Map allows you to not only record your gratitude, but also to share it with the world- another important aspect to benefitting fully from gratitude.
Sonja Lyubomirsky from the University of California, Riverside, has done research that points to the fact that sharing gratitude is one of the most important aspects of gratitude. She conducted a study that had people write letters to thanking people who had had a positive impact on their life.
Some of the participants kept the letters to themselves while other sent the letters to those they were thanking. Those that shared their letters experienced more mental-health benefits than those that did not share their letters.
We can all use a bit more gratitude in out lives. Sharing your gratitude not only makes those we are grateful to feel good about themselves, it allows us to connect with people on a different level- it allows us to feel more in touch with humanity. Check out the World Gratitude Map and change your outlook on the world.
Paul Hudson | Elite.