Here are some reflections on what science has to say about gratitude, which has been called the “forgotten factor” in happiness research.
Psychologists Robert Emmons at the University of California at Davis, and Michael McCullough, at the University of Miami, are foremost researchers in field of gratitude. What they have learned so far is that gratitude is good for you, really good for you.
In an experimental comparison, people who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). It doesn’t end there.