[Reprinted from Psyblog.]
Dr. Robert A. Emmons, a professor of psychology at UC Davis, describes research he carried out with three experimental groups over 10 weeks (Emmons & McCullough, 2003):
- The first group was asked to write down five things they were grateful for that had happened in the last week. This was known as the gratitude condition.
- The second group was asked to write down five daily hassles from the previous week. This was the hassles condition.
- The third group simply listed five events that had occurred in the last week, with no instruction to focus on positive or negative aspects. This was the events or control condition.
- Sunset through the clouds.
- The chance to be alive.
- The generosity of friends.
- Hard to find parking.
- Burned my macaroni and cheese.
Happiness up 25%
After just 10 weeks, people who were in the gratitude condition felt fully 25% happier - they were more optimistic about the future, they felt better about their lives and they even did almost 1.5 hours more exercise a week than those in the hassles or events condition.
Similar research has confirmed the "gratitude effect". Don't you want to try it?