The power of gratitude has become a focus of much research in the field of psychology. Much of this research has been done by two psychologists in particular, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough.
In one study, three groups of participants were asked to briefly journal about their week. The first group focused on what they were grateful for, the second group about daily irritations, and the third about events that had affected them, whether positive or negative. After ten weeks, the gratitude journalers were more optimistic, felt better about their lives, exercised more, and had fewer doctor visits than those who focused on other things.
Interested? Here are a few simple gratitude practices you can try:
- Start a gratitude journal using written word, art, or collage
- Create a gratitude jar, writing things you’re thankful for daily on slips of paper, collecting them for future reference
- Go on a gratitude walk, noticing and being grateful for the things around you
- Meditate by visualizing specific people or experiences you are grateful for (great to try at bedtime)