Scientific Evidence of the Power of Gratitude 

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Although we accept the theory of personal fate, we also believe that everyone has the power to make the most of his or her life within the limits of predetermination. 

As we outline in the Mystic’s Magic Formula, one of the best ways to optimize life’s rewards and mitigate life’s challenges is through the power of gratitude. 

As Dave Asprey of Bulletproof says, “…gratitude literally rewires your brain. Even a simple gratitude writing practice builds lasting neural sensitivity for more positive thinking. That means the more you practice gratitude, the more you default to positivity instead of negativity.” 

Fifty years ago, nobody would have believed you if you claimed the power of gratitude could be scientifically proven. But today, numerous studies show the incredible benefits of gratitude.  

The Greater Good Science Center and Robert Emmons of the University of California, Davis, in 2011 launched Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude, funded by the John Templeton Foundation.  

Below we list some of the scientific findings related to this remarkable project, supporting the power of gratitude.  

Gratitude and Quality of Sleep 

A study found that gratitude “…predicts greater subjective sleep quality and sleep duration, and less sleep latency and daytime dysfunction.” Gratitude Influences Sleep through the Mechanism of Pre-Sleep CognitionsWood, A. M., et al. (2009). Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 66(1), 43–48.PDF

Gratitude and Well-Being 

A study “…presents a new model of gratitude incorporating both gratitude that arises following help from others and habitual appreciations of the positive aspects of life.” Wood, A. M., et al. (2010). Gratitude and Well-Being: A Review and Theoretical Integration. Clinical Psychology Review, doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.005.PDF

Gratitude and Happiness 

A study “…evaluated the reliability of the Gratitude Resentment and Appreciation Test (GRAT), finding it to have internal consistency and temporal stability, then used GRAT to find the importance of gratitude to subjective well-being.” 

A study found that “…regularly practicing counting one’s blessings and visualizing best possible selves are shown to raise and maintain positive mood.” Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). How to Increase and Sustain Positive Emotion: The Effects of Expressing Gratitude and Visualizing Best Possible Selves. Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(2), 73-82.PDF 

Four studies, “…examine the correlates of the disposition towards gratitude, finding that self and observer ratings of a grateful disposition are associated with well-being, prosocial behaviors, and spirituality.” McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J-A. (2002). The Grateful Disposition: A Conceptual and Empirical Topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(1), 112-127.PDF 

Gratitude and Successful Relationships 

A study “…posits that gratitude is an evolutionarily developed emotion which strengthens our relationships with our partners.” Algoe, S. B. (in press). Find, Remind, and Bind: The Functions of Gratitude in Everyday Relationships. Social and Personality Psychology Compass. 

A study found “…higher levels of gratitude after receiving thoughtful benefits (e.g. gifts, favors, etc.) predicted higher relationship connection and satisfaction.” Algoe, S. B., Gable, S. L. & Maisel, N. C. (2010). It’s the Little Things: Everyday Gratitude as a Booster Shot for Romantic Relationships. Personal Relationships, 17: 217–233

Gratitude and Children’s and Adolescents’ Well-Being 

Early adolescents’ subjective well-being are studied when they are encouraged to have more grateful outlooks on life. Froh, J. J., Sefick, W. J., & Emmons, R. A. (2008). Counting Blessings in Early Adolescents: An Experimental Study of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being. Journal of School Psychology, 46(2), 213-233.PDF 

A study finds that “…children with lower positive affect levels are impacted more from gratitude interventions than those whose levels are higher.” Froh, J. J., Kashdan, T. B., Ozimkowski, K. M., & Miller, N. (2009). Who Benefits The Most from a Gratitude Intervention in Children and Adolescents? Examining Positive Affect as a Moderator. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 408–422. PDF 

One of the easiest ways to improve your life is by expressing more gratitude. As the studies show, you have a lot to gain and it costs you nothing besides a little effort involving positive thinking. 

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