You’re independent and capable. Asking for help isn’t always easy. But the next time someone does you a favor, try expressing gratitude. You’ll love the results.
Expressing gratitude boosts happiness and decreases feelings of depression. Grateful people experience greater life satisfaction and are less likely to be envious or anxious. They’re more empathetic, forgiving, hopeful, less materialistic and more generous than their less grateful counterparts.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Psychology at University of California, Riverside, has done extensive research on gratitude, and the topic is part of her book "The How of Happiness." She says people who write five things they’re grateful for once each week or write gratitude letters to those they appreciate are happier, more optimistic and more connected to others. She emphasizes that a gratitude letter is different from a thank-you note.
“Often, thank-you notes are written out of duty. A gratitude letter involves writing paragraphs or pages of what’s making you feel grateful for this person, thing or situation. You elaborate upon what you’re grateful for; it’s more powerful than thank-you notes,” Dr. Lyubomirsky says.
Here are some ways to express gratitude:
“When you use these mechanisms, they can make you feel more charitable and generous. Expressing gratitude has been shown to prevent people from taking things for granted,” Dr. Lyubomirsky says.
Dr. Art Markman, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and YouBeauty Psychology Advisor, says expressing gratitude can be a means of coping when facing difficulties.
To see positive results from expressing gratitude, you have to find the best way to work it into your life. Whether it’s once a week or every day, you have to determine the frequency that’s right for you.
“Expressing gratitude should be enjoyable and feel natural; it shouldn’t feel like a chore. It should fit your personality, goals and lifestyle,” she says.
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