We say these words all too often, frequently without thinking or feeling.
Most of us know that being grateful is something we should be doing, but what if expressing gratitude actually translates to improved health? Research is beginning to show just how healthy this practice might be.
Dr. Robert Emmons is professor at the University of California-Davis, and one of the leading scholars investigating the healthy benefits of gratitude. He describes the first major studies of this subject in his book Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier. Dr. Emmons’ research has found that grateful people can increase their “set point” for happiness by as much as 25 percent, sustaining it for several months.
The evidence for this is groundbreaking.
It contradicts the widely held notion that people’s set points for happiness are fixed and unchanging. Not only are these set points flexible, but some say gratitude has done more for them than improve things by just a bit. Individuals have gone so far as to say that the regular practice of gratitude has dramatically changed their lives, impacting family, friends and everyone else around them.