One Simple Choice Enhances the Benefits of Gratitude

One Simple Choice Enhances the Benefits of Gratitude

We know the practice of gratitude helps; it boosts happiness and wellbeing and just generally, improves quality of life.

But it doesn’t work equally for all people.

So this small change might be just what you need to gain even more from your thankfulness habits …

by Grant Hilary Brenner via Psychology Today


  • Gratitude has three components: cognitive, emotional, behavioral.
  • Gratitude felt is good; gratitude expressed is even better.
  • Sharing gratitude amplifies its positive effects.

While the individual practice of gratitude has been shown to be beneficial, per research by Walsh, Regan and Lyubomirsky published in The Journal of Positive Psychology (2022), somewhat surprisingly the socialization of gratitude—what happens when gratitude is shared between actors and targets (recipients), and when gratitude is witnessed by others—has not been well-studied.

The Primacy of Gratitude

Gratitude is an evolutionary phenomenon, fundamentally connected with our basic needs for giving and receiving as a matter of communal survival and cooperation. Study authors observe that the word root comes from Latin gratia, meaning “favor”. Gratitude, a way of expressing thanks, is inherently interpersonal, typically expected to be reciprocal, one of the basic threads of the social tapestry. Failure to express heartfelt, sincere gratitude, when gratitude is appropriate, leads to rupture; generosity unrequited tends to wither intimacy.

Gratitude is a powerful state of mind, with important implications for individual well-being and relationship satisfaction. Ample research finds that gratitude—along with related concepts including optimism, mental flexibility, compassion, self-efficacy, grit, and other staples of positive psychology and self-actualization—has many benefits.

For example, participants in a research study asked to write a letter of gratitude to a kind benefactor reported increased well-being, replicated across many studies. In other research, gratitude has been shown to improve social relationships, physical health, and emotional well-being.

Gratitude, while an integrated, meaningful experience, may be considered to have three components: cognitive/thinking, emotions, and behaviors—all important to consider when we contemplate expressing gratitude for ourselves and others. Given how important gratitude has become to many peoples’ everyday practice, understanding its social dimensions is key…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE