09 Dec 4 Reasons Why You Should Express Gratitude Every Day
via Psychology Today by Mark Travers
The Three Good Things exercise asks people to write down three things that went well for them each day and to reflect on why each good thing happened. It is a go-to technique in the therapist’s toolkit as it has been shown to increase psychological “flourishing” and lower depressive symptoms.
In fact, a growing body of research highlights just how important expressions of gratitude can be for our social, emotional, and physical health. Scientists have found:
- Gratitude facilitates social well-being. Studies have shown that gratitude interventions such as reflecting on positive daily events or keeping a gratitude journal can facilitate social well-being. A 2016 study found that keeping a gratitude diary increased students’ sense of belonging. Another study found that expressions of gratitude by managers motivated their employees to be more productive in their daily work.
- Gratitude enhances emotional well-being. Studies have shown a positive association between expressions of gratitude and positive emotional states such as happiness, life satisfaction, and flourishing. One study found that a gratitude intervention improved happiness in a sample of adult women (but not as much as a mindfulness intervention). Another study found that the Three Good Things intervention increased flourishing in a sample of elderly adults.
- Gratitude benefits physical health. Numerous studies have examined the relationship between gratitude and physical health markers such as cardiovascular health, stress and inflammation, pain perception, and sleep. One study found that keeping a gratitude journal improved diastolic blood pressure. Another study found that focusing on things to be grateful about before bed each night increased pre-sleep calmness. Yet another study found that people who kept a gratitude journal for 14 days reported fewer headaches, clearer skin, less stomach pain, and reduced congestion.
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