The Science of Giving Thanks

Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life, by Emmons, Robert A. and McCullough, Michael E. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol 84(2), Feb 2003, 377-389.

In this study, one participant group recorded a diary of daily events, another group wrote down unpleasant experiences, and the third group wrote down a daily record listing things for which they were grateful. The gratitude group was more likely to help others, exercise, and complete personal goals, while reporting more determination, optimism, alertness, energy, and enthusiasm. It is interesting to note that this study also found people who take time to deliberately record their gratitude were more likely to feel loved, and found more kindness reciprocated to them as they sent out an increase of kindness from their attitude. Also, grateful people were grateful regardless of whether special events happened in their day or not. In other words, they did not just have moments of gratefulness, but grateful attitudes.

In short, acts of gratitude improve your overall well-being. That?s reason enough for me to start being more thankful for what I have.

Sound interesting? Check out the book, Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier by Robert Emmons.

(With thanks to Glen at and Adria at ButYou’


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