Gratitude and Well-Being

The Importance of Gratitude on Your Well-Being

In many ways most rational humans have lost the true meaning of gratitude. And that’s understandable—gratitude requires mindfulness, reflection and stillness, three things that can be difficult in our busy, overstimulated everyday lives. In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

Scientific Psychological Research on Gratitude

Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories.

When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.

What is Gratitude – Its Meaning & Definition

Gratitude is an emotion similar to appreciation. The American Psychological Association defines this phenomenon as a sense of happiness and thankfulness in response to a positive circumstance or tangible gift.

What it means to– “PRACTICE GRATITUDE” There are a lot of ways to incorporate more gratitude in your life. It could be as small as thinking about one thing you’re grateful for that day, 5 simple ways to practice gratitude:

1. Make a list in your head. Experts suggest doing this either first thing in the morning or when going to sleep.
2. Say things you’re grateful for out-loud – try it while looking in the mirror.
3. Tell people in your life you’re grateful for them and why.
4. Meditate. Be Mindful, Intention and gratitude go hand-in-hand.
5. Write it down (the favorite). There are lots of ways to do it, the thing we like so much about this is having a record to refer to of things you’ve been grateful for. Some fun ideas include a gratitude jar or a gratitude journal.

Since the idea is to make this a regular practice, try to figure out a method and time of day that works best for you, that way you’re more likely to stick with it.

Furthermore, allowing yourself the opportunity to be grateful can foster increased self-esteem that ultimately directs us away from negative thought cycles and towards positivity.

Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” Rumi

Raquel Torres, MBA is a USAT Elite Certified Coach, Professional Triathlon Coach and Professional Triathlete. Raquel also writes blogs for several magazines and her team Athletic Mentors. Since May 2021 she contributes as a columnist with CNY Latino Newspaper. She shares true life stories with her experiences, also tips and tactics that helps anyone to be their best version. To read about her, head over to and search for her by her name. You can also send questions or comments about her column to the following email: and go to her website at

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