The Amazing Power of Gratitude
to increase your happiness levels by 25%
If you'd like to be happier and healthier start cultivating an attitude
of gratitude and you'll be off to a flying start.
According to scientific research by psychologist Emmons
and McCullogh the simple act of counting your blessings can increase happiness levels by 25%! Those who make a
point of practising gratitude sleep better, exercise more, feel more optimistic and less materialistic, are more
empathetic and joyful and reported few physical symptoms such as pain. They can even have sharper minds.
Secondly, this is not hard to achieve - a few hours writing a gratitude journal over 3
weeks can create an effect that lasts 6 months if not more.
Emmons and McCullough carried out an experiential investigation into the link between
gratitude and well-being. More than 100 adults took part in the study and were randomly divided into 3 different
groups. Each group had to keep a journal. Group A had to write about things they felt grateful about. Group B about
things they found annoying, irritating and Group C about things that had no major impact on them.
Results show that the gratitude group generally evidenced higher-levels of well-being
than those in the comparison conditions, especially when compared to Group B (the one journaling about hassles),
but also compared to the “neutral” group C.
The most common method used in the research was to keep a “Gratitude Journal” where
participants wrote something they felt grateful for. Doing so 4 times a week, for as little as 3 weeks, is often
enough to create a meaningful difference in one’s level of happiness.
Another exercise is to build a “Gratitude 30” into your
day. Select a 30 minute period and actively notice all the things you are grateful for as you go through your daily
Alternatively simply taking a few minutes before bed time
or in the morning to run through all the things you appreciate in your life can be very effective.
So start being thankful and before you know it you’ll be happy you
Erica McKinney, 21st September 2008