Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, His love endures forever.
~ Psalm 136:1
Yesterday I blogged about the health benefits of giving thanks or expressing gratitude. Here’s a bit more for your consideration…
Grateful people have more positive ways of coping with the difficulties they experience in life, being more likely to:
- seek support from other people,
- reinterpret and grow from the experience,
- and spend more time planning how to deal with the problem.
Grateful people also have less negative coping strategies, being less likely to:
- try to avoid the problem,
- deny there is a problem,
- blame themselves, or
- cope through substance use.
In one study concerning gratitude, participants were randomly assigned to one of six therapeutic intervention conditions designed to improve the participant’s overall quality of life. Out of these conditions, it was found that the biggest short-term effects came from a “gratitude visit” where participants wrote and delivered a letter of gratitude to someone in their life. This condition showed a rise in happiness scores by 10 percent and a significant fall in depression scores, results which lasted up to one month after the visit.
Out of the six conditions, the longest lasting effects were caused by the act of writing “gratitude journals” where participants were asked to write down three things they were grateful for every day. These participants’ happiness scores also increased and continued to increase each time they were tested periodically after the experiment.
In fact, the greatest benefits were usually found to occur around six months after treatment began. This exercise was so successful that although participants were only asked to continue the journal for a week, many participants continued to keep the journal long after the study was over.
Why not try a “gratitude visit” or “gratitude journal” this week?