The Science Behind Why Gratitude Is Good For You

Gratitude benefits your whole life

Be grateful for the things you have in life.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the terms “grateful” and “gratitude” are being used more frequently.

Gratitude is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as, “a strong feeling of appreciation to someone or something for what the person has done to help you.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines grateful as, “showing or expressing thanks, especially to a person.”

Sometimes, just showing someone the slightest appreciation can brighten their day, just as appreciating what you have in your life can boost your overall happiness. Let’s delve into some of the ways gratitude benefits your life.

Three Good Things

Science has shown time and time again that humans need to be appreciated. Psychologist Martin E.P. Seligman did a study in 2005 in which he had his subjects try to find the good in things that happen every single day. It was called the practice of “Three Good Things.” The study asked participants to take 5 to 10 minutes at the end of each day to reflect on what happened during their day. 

Seligman recommended that, after reflection, they should write down three good things that happened to them that day, no matter what kind of day they had overall. By focusing on the good things in life, subjects started to see the good in everyday life and stopped focusing so much on the negative things. 

Seligman noticed that the subjects who completed the task every day reported feeling happier more often after just a week of participating in the exercise, and subjects who continued with the three good things exercise on a daily basis reported they were much happier six months later than they had been before they started writing down what they were grateful for.

Give Thanks!

One way you can express gratitude is by thanking someone for something they did for you.

In 2018, Psychological Science published a report of a study where volunteers took time out of their day to hand write a note of gratitude to someone. Participants in the study said they felt much happier after writing the letter, partially because of the way it feels to let someone know you appreciate them. The recipients of the letters also reported feeling happy about the good deed they had done for the letter writer. Overall, those on the sending and receiving side of the letter enjoyed a little boost of happiness from someone expressing gratitude towards them.

Time for Yourself

Sometimes, we all need a break. The stresses of everyday life can get us all down in the dumps, but what can you do to give yourself a little boost? Believe it or not, it can be as simple as taking a walk.

A group of 60 adults took part in a study where they were asked to take 15-minute walks outside for eight weeks. Some were asked to take “awe” walks in small groups, where the goal was to take in the sights and sounds and find “awe” on their walk—or something that they found joy in. The group of adults who were part of the awe walks reported they were much more happy and joyful than they were before they started taking the walks. The awe walk participants also reported an increase in daily positive emotions and a decrease in daily stress.

So what does that mean? Grab a friend, go for a walk, explore, and find the joy in the everyday things around you—it could boost your happiness and help you maintain a positive and happy demeanor throughout the day. And don’t forget about the positive, healthy benefits of walking daily!

A Smile a Day…

It is so important to find a reason to smile every day, even when you aren’t feeling your best.

Have you heard the saying “turn that frown upside down” or “fake it until you make it”? Science suggests that by pushing through a difficult situation and smiling instead of frowning, a person can cheat themself into a better mood. Smiling can help change a person’s mood and give them a boost of energy, even lowering their stress. 

Scientists believe that smiling can boost the levels of serotonin, the hormone responsible for lowering stress, and boost the levels of dopamine, the hormone associated with happiness, in the brain. Let’s also not forget that when you smile at others, they feel more appreciated and grateful. A smile can give anyone that warm, fuzzy feeling inside, leading to a boost in positive emotions and feelings.

Farless Dental Group is here for your smile. 

And, of course, if you are thinking about a way to make your smile more dazzling, visit Farless Dental Group! Dr. Farless can give your smile a complete makeover, or just improve the aspects of your smile you want changed. Contact us today for an appointment!