Gratitude may be more beneficial than we realise. A recent study had subjects write a note of thanks to someone and then estimate how surprised and happy the recipient would feel – an impact that they consistently underestimated.
Another study assessed the health benefits of writing thank you notes. The researchers found that writing as few as three weekly thank you notes over the course of three weeks improved life satisfaction, increased happy feelings and reduced symptoms of depression.
Robinson Crusoe has much to lament when marooned on a deserted island. But instead of giving in to despair, he makes a list of things for which he is grateful, including the fact that he is the shipwreck’s sole survivor and has been able to salvage many useful items from the wreckage.
There is mounting evidence that counting our blessings is one of the best habits we can develop to promote mental and physical health.
Simply put, for most of us, it is far more helpful to focus on the things in life for which we can express gratitude than those that incline us toward resentment and lamentation.
Gratitude is one of the healthiest and most nourishing of all states of mind, and those who adopt it as a habit are enriching not only their own lives but also the lives of those around them.