Shout it Out

Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, conducted an experiment where they split several hundred people into three different groups and then asked them all to keep diaries.

The first group was told to record all events – good and bad.

The second group was told to record only their unpleasant experiences.

The third group was asked to make a daily list of the things for which they were grateful.

At the end of the study the third group – the grateful group – was found to be more alert, enthusiastic, determined, optimistic and energetic.  They also had lower levels of stress and depression, were more likely to help others, took more exercise (!) and made more progress towards attaining personal goals.   In general those who practice gratitude were also found to be more creative, to recover faster from problems, have a stronger immune system and better relationships. Overall, it seems that practicing gratitude can increase our happiness levels by around 25%.

The authors of the study point out that saying we are grateful doesn’t mean we ignore our problems, just that alongside facing our problems we count our blessings.

So, on reflection, for what – or who – are you grateful today?

Watch a great soulpancake video here – Shout Out