New research in the health sciences indicates that making a point of regularly expressing gratitude can bring numerous benefits in physical and emotional health.
Robert Emmons, psychology professor at University of California-Davis, declares that “gratitude enhances performance in every domain that’s been examined, psychological, relational, emotional, physical.”
Asking research subjects to regularly write down reasons for thankfulness in a daily “gratitude journal” appears to bring immediate results; a study at University College London showed better sleep quality and lower blood pressure after just two weeks of keeping gratitude journals.
With the nation painfully afflicted by an epidemic of “deaths of despair” involving suicides, drug overdoses and alcoholism, thankfulness may provide a promising antidote, offering an alternative to our current culture of complaint, competitive victimization and indulgent self-pity. Taking time for thankfulness may be good for your health—and the nation’s.