Live Inspired

The Benefits of Gratitude

"Look on the bright side," we say. "Count your blessings." "Be thankful." Reminders to be grateful are all around us. And most of us really do try to accentuate the positive things in our lives because we know that focusing on the good is a way to feel happier. But did you know that new research is demonstrating that there are lasting physical and social benefits to gratitude?

A study at the University of California at Davis split participants into one of three groups. Participants in the first group journaled every week, listing five things they were grateful for. Participants in the second group wrote about hassles or disappointments, and participants in the final group wrote about events that had simply affected them, whether positive or negative. After 10 weeks, those participants who'd written about things they were grateful for were 25% happier than members of the other groups. They also exercised more frequently and reported fewer health problems.

This study isn't the only groundbreaking gratitude study in recent months. Other studies have shown that journaling about the things you feel grateful for can help you sleep better, connect better with others, and strengthen your relationships. All this from just a few moments spent remembering and appreciating the good in your life.

A daily journal, whether at night or in the morning, is something researchers suggest for those of us interested in seeing the benefits for ourselves. Why not try making a list each day, and see what happens? Post a comment below (or on our Facebook page) listing 5 things you're grateful for. Make your statement by February 29, 2012 at 11:59 pm PST, and we'll send 5 lucky participants a copy of our Gratitude Every Day journal--a great way to incorporate this practice into every day!

Tags: gratitude

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38 responses so far ↓

  • 1 lori kaye 02.24.2012 | 12:38 PM

    i love this.... i first did it after my exhusband left me after 19 years. It totally changed my life. Going to start it again!!! It really does make you feel so much better about everything.
  • 2 Elaina 02.24.2012 | 5:03 PM

    I am grateful for my family, the Lord's strength, a supportive boyfriend, my amazing co-workers, and to stop the list at only 5...a relaxing bath after a long day!
  • 3 Janice 02.24.2012 | 5:11 PM

    I am grateful for my family (which includes good friends), my health, my job, my dog, and the strength to weather lots of storms.
  • 4 Megan 02.24.2012 | 5:28 PM

    Absolutely LOVE all of your products and a gratitude journal is probably one of the best!
  • 5 Cheryl 02.24.2012 | 6:41 PM

    Love this post and totally agree! I am grateful for my family and friends, my job, the fact that I know things will always work out, my opportunities in life and my health.
  • 6 jts 02.24.2012 | 7:49 PM

    As a mental health counselor, I recommend this for all my clients, regardless of the presenting issues. It helps with depression, anxiety, sleeplessness. Even children can benefit -- especially teens.
  • 7 Diane 02.24.2012 | 8:02 PM

    I am grateful I read this post and plan to start a gratitude journal this weekend.
  • 8 Jennifer 02.24.2012 | 9:18 PM

    I am grateful for everyday, for the health and happiness of my friends and family, for the beauty of art, for all the opportunities I've been given, and for inspiration.
  • 9 Shyla 02.24.2012 | 11:16 PM

    I am grateful for great coworkers and a wonderful workplace, a boyfriend who doesn't give up, a healthy body and the ability to plan for the future.
  • 10 Shyla 02.24.2012 | 11:16 PM

    I am grateful for great coworkers and a wonderful workplace, a boyfriend who doesn't give up, a healthy body and the ability to plan for the future.
  • 11 Jody 02.25.2012 | 2:23 PM

    Today I am grateful for the warmth of my house and my husband who helped me with an outdoor task.
  • 12 Deanna 02.29.2012 | 10:15 AM

    Thankful for my health, my family, having a place to rest my head, good friends and the gift of optimism that I have found in the last two years
  • 13 Meg 02.29.2012 | 12:03 PM

    I am grateful for:
    1. having a new opportunity every morning to make the most of my day
    2. the love from family and friends, and being able to love them in return
    3. my passions and goals that inspire and motivate me
    4. recognizing my blessings
    5. accepting challenges and learning from them in order to grow as a person
  • 14 Kimberly 02.29.2012 | 12:06 PM

    Love this! I am grateful for my husband, my baby boys, a sunshiny day, coffee and God's grace.
  • 15 Geralyn Gray 02.29.2012 | 12:07 PM

    family......health......roof over my head.....food.......and feeling like it ain't no sin to be glad I'm alive!!!!!
  • 16 Jen 02.29.2012 | 12:09 PM

    I am grateful for an amazing partner, the opportunity to care for three wonderful feline friends, a good sense of humor, an above-average level of physical fitness, and a willingness to be open to adventure.
  • 17 joy 02.29.2012 | 12:18 PM

    I have so much to be thankful for. My son, now 6 1/2 is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed at the age of 4 with stage four burkitt's lymphoma. It was a very difficult time but friends, family and faith all were a huge support for me. I thank the high heavens each day for all of the blessings in my life then, and now.

    I am so very grateful for the various gifts we received, and when I say gifts I don't mean presents, I mean friends who brought meals, teachers who came over to visit, cards that came from school, nurses who work so very hard. I could go on but the blessings are endless.

    Recently, I was cleaning the bathroom and all I could do was think of how blessed we were that our thoughtful friends gifted us a home cleaning every other week because they knew that we all had other things to concentrate on.

    BLESSINGS ABOUND and I am so grateful I have the returned health of my son and the kindess of my community and to be grateful for.

    xo
  • 18 Jennifer Jabson 02.29.2012 | 12:22 PM

    My wife. My education. My dog. My enthusiasm. Friends. Good beer. Awesome gym that helps me build fitness and health.
  • 19 Christina 02.29.2012 | 12:22 PM

    1. I'm grateful for my biological mother giving me up for adoption, knowing I would have a better life, and allowing me to be surrounded with nothing but love from my (adopted) family.
    2. I'm grateful for all the people that have come and gone who have taught me valuable lessons about myself, life, and true friendships.
    3. I'm grateful for spending a lot of time listening, learning and keeping my Grandma company before she passed away, last year.
    4. I am grateful for a select few friends who have taught me to seize the day, how much a positive mindset can improve life, and what I deserve in life.
    5. I am grateful for my family who is there no matter what, to support me, hug me, listen to me and love me.
  • 20 Morgan 02.29.2012 | 12:32 PM

    I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been given to be a mother to a beautiful little girl, a student at Creighton University, for the unending inspiration from "Live Inspired," for my family who has never lost faith in me, and also for being able to live my life's dreams out to their fullest potential.
  • 21 Stephanie 02.29.2012 | 1:04 PM

    A job that allows me to play and make a difference.
    I married my best friend.
    Two amazing children.
    The best little therapy dog, Jay, who has made children smile and talk -that I couldn't!
    My parents - who believed - even when I didn't!
  • 22 Jennifer 02.29.2012 | 1:16 PM

    I'm grateful to have a job I love, for the endless support of my family, for the most fun-driven friends in the world, for the opportunities life has given me and for the most loving dog ever.
  • 23 Karen 02.29.2012 | 1:28 PM

    I am grateful for my family, my creativity, my health, the blessing of a beautiful home & food on our table, and quiet moments of prayer.
  • 24 Laarni 02.29.2012 | 1:36 PM

    My health to carry me through each day. My mind to think through what comes my way. My husband who grounds me. Our daughter who reminds us true meaning of innocence. My family of friends who inspire me.
  • 25 donna 02.29.2012 | 1:53 PM

    I'm grateful for my family, for my faith in God, for sunshine, for the ability to read books, for my parents.
  • 26 Sandie 02.29.2012 | 2:02 PM

    I am grateful for:
    1.My faith in God and the way He protects me when things get too tough!
    2.Good chemo drugs to help heal my daughter and my dad who are both going thru cancer right now.
    3.The love and support of our family and friends who have been soo great to help us on this journey.
    4.ART!.. when I create I am happy!
    5.Last but certainly not least.. COMPENDIUM! for putting soo much positive and hope and love out into the world!
    We are huge fans and always look for Compendium when we travel! If a gift shop has Compendium... we know its gonna be a good one!
  • 27 Lacey Owczarzak 02.29.2012 | 2:10 PM

    I am thankful for...
    -the little old man who helps me bag my groceries and his thoughtfulness - the people who don't follow the norm -the daily phone calls from my parents and sisters -the eleven kisses from my fiance each morning before he leaves -the site of two people hugging who have missed each other
  • 28 Lana 02.29.2012 | 2:27 PM

    I am grateful for the health of my family, for my daughter being able to meet and fall in love with my 87 year old grandfather and my 80 year old grandmother, I am grateful that I don't have more than I need-it allows me to be creative and appreciate the small things, I am grateful for daffodils waving in the sunshine and for the love my husband and I share with our beautiful daughter, Grace,
  • 29 Tracy 02.29.2012 | 2:31 PM

    I am grateful for many things... Peace, Health, Safety, Family, Friends to name a few. <3
  • 30 Bonnie Kaye 02.29.2012 | 3:35 PM

    My health
    My personal trainer
    My husbands help around the house
    God's awesome power
    Being able to travel to see new places
  • 31 Dee Volkert 02.29.2012 | 4:03 PM

    1.I've just had a hip replacement & I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for all the friends & family that have left prayers & encouraging words on my fb wall.
    2. I am excited & thankful for the news of our first grandchild to be born the end of September.
    3.I am thankful for daughters who have grown into wonderful friends who encourage me in my walk with God.
    4. I am thankful for friends that I can share the joy of glitter & whimsy and gets how my art is worship.
    5.I am thankful for a most loving husband who always strives to love me as Christ loves the church; who tries to keep me from fear.
  • 32 Jen 02.29.2012 | 4:14 PM

    my boys
    my husband
    my extended family
    my students
    Health
  • 33 Tracy 02.29.2012 | 5:06 PM

    Just 5! Oh my! Okay...listening to my almost 10-month-old babe giggle all day, being married to my best friend, being able to make choices about how we live (within reasonable constraints, of course), the people who support my continued education, and the opportunity to do creative and new projects every day (even if it's just trying a new recipe for dinner). Thanks for the chance!
  • 34 Aubrey 02.29.2012 | 5:09 PM

    I started a gratitude journal as part of my new year's resolution this year and it has made a huge improvement in my outlook on everything!

    Here are 5 of the many, many things I am grateful for today:
    1. God has blessed me with an incredible man that I get to call my husband in 23 short days!
    2. The unwavering support of my family and oldest friends
    3. A career that allows me to grow daily and pushes me to become a stronger person daily
    4. A good friend checking in today just when encouragement was needed most
    5. A rainy day... so I can remember how amazing a sunny day really is! :)
  • 35 Jen 02.29.2012 | 5:32 PM

    I am grateful for so many things in my life but here is 5 things:
    1. That my basic needs are met: clean drinking water, access to food, and shelter
    2. The opportunity for education
    3. The right to vote
    4. My health
    5. Family and friends and sharing memorable moments with them
  • 36 Moniree 02.29.2012 | 7:30 PM

    1. hope and resilience
    2. inspiration which is everywhere
    3. how far I've come in my recovery from anorexia after years of being very ill and my strong commitment to working toward full recovery and never ever giving up
    4. my incredible friends and soul sisters whom I am forever grateful to have crossed paths with
    5. Mary Ann Goodwyn, a woman who was like a mother to me and who helped me in the most amazing way on my path toward healing
  • 37 Winnie 02.29.2012 | 8:42 PM

    1. Great gifts inherited from mom & dad.
    2. Loving husband who stands by me always.
    3. Friends who accept the person I am.
    4. Good health
    5. Freedom to be who I am.
  • 38 Gabby 02.29.2012 | 10:22 PM

    -my brother made me afternoon tea this afternoon for the sake of it!
    -my school and the opportunities I have there
    -the happiness of my friends
    -my friends' love of every part of me - good or bad, crazy or sane
    -people who stand out and bring something extraordinary to every day

    I think I might start writing what I'm grateful for every day, I found the study mentioned in this post really interesting!!

    :)

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