Multiple studies have shown the positive effects of expressing gratitude. For instance, in psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, take pleasure in good experiences, improve their health, build stronger relationships and increase resiliency.
In this YouTube video, An Experiment in Gratitude, the positive effects of expressing gratitude can be seen firsthand. The experiment revealed increases in happiness by 4.0 - 19% when individuals wrote thank you letters to an individual, and then called the person to express their gratitude by reading the letter they wrote. Even more interesting, the person who rated as the least happy that day showed the biggest increase in happiness after the activity was completed.
Expressing gratitude doesn’t need to be something complex to feel the benefits. Doing simple things like taking the time once a week to write down a few things you are grateful for is a good example. Starting a gratitude journal or writing gratitude messages to individuals to show appreciation are also simple ways to implement expressing gratitude in our lives.
With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. Gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals—whether that is other people, nature or a higher power. So, the next time you are having a stressful day in the office and maybe feeling down, try expressing gratitude to someone, whether that is family member, friend or a co-worker. Not only might you increase your happiness, but there is a good chance you might also benefit the person on the receiving end by giving them the opportunity to feel positive emotions as well.