bouquet of gratitude factsWe’re a combination of reason and intelligent thinking mashed up with passions and instincts. For some matters we rely on logic, and for others, we lead with our hearts. Sometimes we need evidence, other times we embrace things by taking leaps of faith. Do you need proof that gratitude pays off? Do you need science to validate the benefits of expressing gratitude? If you do, here are my favorite facts from a Harvard Medical School Letter summarizing an NIH research on gratitude:

 

  • When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. (This point is corroborated in a cool gratitude experiment by SoulPancake.)

 

  • A study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.

 

  • A new twist on the notion that expressions of gratitude are gifts for senders and receivers is that saying and meaning Thank You also promotes deeper connections with new acquaintances. Emotion, a journal by the American Psychology Association, published Warm Thanks research last year concluding that recipients of  gratitude felt warmth from the peopleMona Lisa Vito Quote that expressed them. This feeling encouraged recipients to keep an open mind about forming bonds within new relationships.

 

Need a little more evidence? The Center for Greater Good at UC Berkeley is another wonderful resource for current and progressive information about the science behind gratitude for well-being.  One of the most powerful TED talks about gratitude can be found in this article by Dr. Robert Emmons.

 

I feel happiness, positivity, and opportunities to increase social bonds whenever I share a gush. It feels good. Even better are the kind words, dittos, and other sweet and joyful consequences of my quick gesture thanking friends and strangers for helping me, or showing them that I paid attention to what they did for me. For me, these experiences are part of what is good and useful to know about gratitude.