What is gratitude?  My favorite explanation of gratitude is a feeling of happiness that comes from appreciation.  According to the leading expert on gratitude, Robert Emmons, gratitude is “an affirmation of goodness while the sources of goodness are outside of ourselves.”  Hundreds of studies in the past 10 years have documented the many benefits of gratitude including psychological, physical and social.  According to Mr. Emmons, there are many scientific benefits of gratitude.

The scientific benefits of gratitude include:

  1. Practicing gratitude has proven to be one of the most reliable methods for increasing happiness and life satisfaction.
  2. Gratitude enhances empathy.  Research indicates that grateful people are more likely to practice more appropriate social behaviors.
  3. Gratitude reduces depression, anxiety and stress.
  4. Being grateful is very good for schools.  Studies indicate that teachers feel more satisfied and less emotionally exhausted.  Also, research shows that students feel better about their schools.
  5. Grateful people sleep better.  It is recommended to write in a gratitude journal every night before you go to sleep.
  6. Gratitude makes us more resilient. Focusing on what we are grateful for in life, especially during challenging times, helps foster a sense of resiliency.
  7. Being grateful strengthens relationships since it helps us feel more committed and closer to our loved ones.
  8. Practicing gratitude is good for kids.  Studies show that kids between the ages of 10-19 who practice gratitude report a greater life satisfaction and more positive emotions.
  9. Being grateful promotes forgiveness.
  10. Gratitude improves physical health.  It strengthens the immune system, reduces symptoms of illness and lowers blood pressure.