Group Shows How Gratitude Affects Your Health
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The Greater Good Science Center, affiliated with the University of California at Berkley, works to scientifically assess how gratitude and doing good for others impacts health and a sense of well-being.
In recent years, the center started Thnx4.org, with the help of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Thnx4.org gives people the opportunity to express what they are thankful for — the actions of another person, a material possession or a concept such as freedom, for example — and to share their “Thnx!” through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
One finding was that during the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving in 2018, the greater the number of gratitude experiences reported by the 1,600 people who shared comments on Thnx.org during that time period on any given day, the more positively they rated that day on a 1-7 scale, correlating from terrible to terrific.
Days with more gratitude featured more positive and fewer negative emotions. People expressing thanks to other people (instead of to things) were 150% more likely to say “this made my whole day glorious,” when asked how strongly this gratitude had impacted their day. When people thought others had put great effort into benefitting them (as opposed to minimal effort), the positive impact on their day was significantly stronger.
This group showed statistically significant increases in gratitude, happiness, satisfaction with life and higher resilience to stress, suggesting that two weeks of daily gratitude journaling on Thnx4.org boosts a range of psychological qualities associated with well-being. Physically, this group reported fewer headaches and less congestion, stomach pain, and coughing or sore throats. According to this evaluation survey data, Thnx4.org yields measurable physical and mental health benefits to participants.