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

17 comments on “Shout it Out

  1. Tilly Bud says:

    I believe it. Focussing on the good instead of dwelling on the bad raises my spirits.

  2. I walked through our small local market town here this morning and smiled at everyone en route and got at least 90% reciprocity, inspired by your posting….though I got at least one: ‘doesn’t he understand reality’ look too. So I am grateful for your posting Trish, and for the chance to act it out a bit….:)

  3. nrhatch says:

    So many people feel they have to dwell on the negatives in journals and conversations and internal dialogue. They insist that it’s necessary in order to process the “pain.”

    I think it just makes the pain loom larger in our lives . . . sapping us of energy and enthusiasm.

    Here’s to focusing on the GOOD!

    • I think we do it because our adaptive wiring trains us to look for danger to ensure our survival which causes us to look at perceived ‘dangers’. But it’s a mistake – as these guys have proven – thanks to you too, Nancy!

  4. […] * Happiness Project (Love Out Loud) * Thank You (Uphill Writing) * 22 Things I Appreciate (Joss) * Shout It Out (Creating Reciprocity) Spread The Word:MoreLike this:Like18 bloggers like this […]

  5. granbee says:

    The St. Guillhem pool photo says it all: blessing of beauty, reflection on heavenly gifts, place for unwinding and opening up to all the good things all around us all the time! This diarying experiment was so inspired; and the results should be shouted out! This sort of reminder was something I meditated on last night and this morning. You can guess that the results were quite postive and brought me back to my wonderful blogging community!

  6. […] Living in the Gap (Suzicate) * Failure ~ Succeeding In The Opposite Direction (Janna T Writes) * Shout It Out (Creating Reciprocity) * Lucky Foods for the New Year (Epicurious) GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", […]

  7. yearstricken says:

    What a great reminder for this coming new year – more gratitude!

    I found your blog via worrywarts. Glad I came.

  8. Mbconsulting says:

    Great post!

    I am grateful that I discovered your post.
    Thank you!

  9. eof737 says:

    I’m grateful for it all… everything! I must say, I love SoulPancake! 🙂

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