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Grateful , Thankful , and Appreciative

Posted on December 16, 2016 at 12:35 AM


Thankful People Are Happy People.

In the year 2003, there was a mental health experiment to determine whether grateful people are generally happier than people who are not; “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation Of Gratitude And Subjective Well-Being In Daily Life.”

 

The researchers studied three subgroups of people in three different experiments.  One third of the subgroups counted and listed their blessings.  One third listed annoyances, and the other third wrote about life-neutral events.


Two experiments were conducted using university undergraduate students. The first experiment involved 201 original undergraduate participants (147 women and 54 men) enrolled in a health psychology class in a large university.  Of these, nine were dropped from the analysis because of incomplete data, leaving a total of 192 participants. The second experiment involved 166 undergraduates (125 women and 41 men).  Of these, nine were dropped from the analysis because of incomplete data, leaving a total of 157 participants.


The first two sets of experimentees were blessed by receiving credit for the experimental learning component of the course.  A third experiment was conducted with 65 people (44 women and 21 men) with Neuro-Muscular Diseases.  They were blessed with twenty dollars for filling out twenty one daily questionnaire forms and fifteen dollars for filling out less questionnaires.  Virtually everyone in the third experiment filled out all twenty one questionnaire forms.

 

The researchers found that the subgroups that counted blessings (wrote from a grateful outlook) reported higher positive effect in psychological well-being and were more likely to pursue social relationships in all three experiments.


Those findings may explain why AA gratitude meetings are popular.  When people talk about the blessings of sobriety they are reminded of their negative past.  Going back to that alcoholic life is less likely when it is in the forefront of the mind. That is a blessing of the AA program.


Yes, the study found evidence that "counting one’s blessings” leads to enhanced psychological and physical functioning.  After ten weeks of writing or completing the 21 questionnaires,  the subgroups that wrote down blessings tended to be more optimistic about the coming week, had less physical symptoms of illness or depression, exercised more and had an overall better life as a whole than the subgroups that wrote down their neutral life events.  The subgroups that wrote down their neutral life events, in turn tended to be more optimistic about the coming week, had less physical symptoms of illness or depression, exercised more and had an overall better life as a whole than the subgroups that wrote down their problems and annoyances.


It is therefore my conclusion that practicing an attitude of gratitude is good for health and happiness.

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