Gratitude, or appreciating a beneficial outcome, has significant benefits to physical and emotional health, according to Robert Emmons at the University of California.
He found that volunteers who kept a gratitude journal exercised more frequently, reported fewer physical symptoms of pain, were more optimistic about the upcoming week, and showed greater progress towards personal goals over a two-month period than people who kept journals that reported events factually or allowed them to complain.
Emmons worked with Hofstra’s Jeffrey J. Froh and Giacomo Bono of California State University, Dominguez Hills to consider gratitude in contrast to happiness among 700 middle school students, who completed measures of gratitude, prosocial behavior, life satisfaction, and social integration, with re-measures after 3 months and 6 months.
Emmons and team found that students who expressed gratitude initially showed greater social integration after 6 months, and these dimensions enhanced each other.
Theyposit that gratitude may help young people develop greater emotional and social well-being, and prosocial contribution to their communities.
This team was joined by Hofstra’s Jennifer Wilson and Noel Card of University of Arizona in another study of young adults who practicing daily gratitude exercises.
These volunteers reported higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to people who focused on social comparisons with people in better or worse life situations than they.
The year-end holiday season often provokes reflections on materialism and gratitude.
Materialistic strivings have been implicated as a cause of unhappiness, whereas gratitude as a trait and as a temporary state can be related to happiness, according to Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Emily L. Polak and Michael E. McCullough of University of Miami’s.
They note that gratitude may reduce materialistic strivings and reduce associated unhappiness to increase well-being.
-*How effective is conscious gratitude on increasing happiness, well-being, and social integration?
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