More science of happiness info
November 21, 2007
This morning I read an unattributed quote: “A wise man is grateful for what others take for granted.” (Two arms, two legs, working organs, a roof over my head…)
In previous posts, I have touched on gratitude and how it is difficult to be happy without it, and how sometimes, I have to practice being grateful for the little things because the big things get too overwhelming. Aren’t you grateful that you are no longer stuck with just my anecdotal observations on why that is? Now I have some real science to back it up. Read the news report below (which I found on The Gratitude Project) then tell me about your own anecdotal evidence of this principle in action!
Positive Psychologists Prove: Gratitude Is the Best Approach to Life
The results of a study on Gratitude (Gratitude and Thankfulness by Robert A. Emmons, University of California, Davis, and Michael E. McCullough, University of Miami) shows that a daily focus on gratitude leads to:
~ higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism & energy
~ lower depression
~ decreased stress
along with an increased likelihood of:
~ helping others
~ exercising regularly and
~ making greater progress towards personal goals.
In addition, the findings reveal that people who feel grateful are also more likely to feel loved.
(Review highlights of this research in the new book “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier” and at: (http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/labs/emmons/)
The findings led investigator Robert Emmons to this conclusion:
“Our groundbreaking research has shown that grateful people experience higher levels of positive emotions such as joy, enthusiasm, love, happiness and optimism and that the practice of gratitude as a discipline protects a person from the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, greed, and bitterness.”
He goes on to speak about the theme of this project: that practicing gratitude actually increases the prosperity in one’s life…
“So gratitude is a key to happiness, as I will argue from a scientific angle. And happiness is a good thing. An implicit assumption that many of us hold is that happiness depends on happenings – by what happens in our lives. We believe that success in life – whether the boardroom or the bedroom – makes people happier. Yet a recent review of the scientific literature on happiness revealed that happiness yields numerous rewards for the individual and precedes these outcomes. This means that happiness makes good things happen. It actually promotes positive outcomes. The benefits of happiness include higher incomes and and superior work outcomes…larger social rewards…more activity, energy, and flow…better physical health, and even longer life.”