26 Nov How feelings of gratitude breed happiness and wellbeing
By Erin Skarda for Time magazine
If you need another reason to give thanks at the dinner table on Thursday, how’s this: people who maintain an “attitude of gratitude” tend to be happier and healthier than those who don’t, according to a lengthy and instructive article this week in the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ‘s Melinda Beck reports that adults who feel grateful have “more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics.”
Now a new study conducted by researchers at Hofstra University _ã” the results of which are set to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Happiness Studies _ã” finds similar benefits of gratitude for adolescents as well. (More on Time.com: How to Raise a Happy Child)
Dr. Jeffrey J. Froh, assistant professor of psychology and lead researcher of the new study, surveyed 1,035 students ages 14 to 19 and found that grateful students reported higher grades, more life satisfaction, better social integration and less envy and depression than their peers who were less thankful and more materialistic. Additionally, feelings of gratitude had a more powerful impact on the students’ lives overall than materialism. (More on Time.com: Generosity Can Be Contagious)
What the bulk of the research suggests is that gratitude should be chronic in order to make a lasting difference in well-being. Dr. Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and a pioneer in gratitude research, told the WSJ that in order to reap all of its benefits, feeling gratitude must be ingrained into your personality, and you must frequently acknowledge and be thankful for the role other people play in your happiness: “The key is not to leave it on the Thanksgiving table,” he said…
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