Gratitude is more than being grateful. And even though it seems a bit “woo woo” there are many studies that have proven the science. These are some of the studies, and this is the science behind gratitude.
One of the biggest compliments I received was when a friend said, “Every time I hear the word gratitude, I think of you.” How beautiful is that?!?
I’ve built my own gratitude practice over the years, and now help others with the Gratitude Builds Fortitude 30-Day Challenge. The question I get most often is, “But Holly, how does this actually work? Is this just a bunch of woo woo or is it backed by science?”
In this article, we’ll cover:
- What is Gratitude?
- 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude
- The Science Behind How Gratitude Builds Fortitude
- Gratitude and Trauma.
Gratitude isn’t new. There are many scriptures in the Bible addressing gratitude.
Even back in 1924, Chesterton contended that “gratitude produced . . . the most purely joyful moments that have been known to man.”
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is the act of being grateful and thankful. It’s pretty magical.
Grat·i·tude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. – Oxford Dictionary.
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. – Cicero
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin root gratia, meaning grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. All derivatives from this Latin root “have to do with kindness, generousness, gifts, the beauty of giving and receiving, or getting something for nothing” (Pruyser, 1976, p. 69).
Every time you praise something, every time you appreciate something, every time you feel good about something, you are telling the universe, “More of this, please!” – Abraham Hicks
Imagine…learning gratitude to build your fortitude… in a super simple way! Click below…
7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude
According to this article from Psychology Today, there are 7 scientifically-proven benefits of gratitude:
1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
2. Gratitude improves physical health.
3. Gratitude improves psychological health.
4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
5. Grateful people sleep better.
6. Gratitude improves self-esteem.
7. Gratitude increases mental strength. (This is what I like to call fortitude!)
The Science Behind How Gratitude Builds Fortitude
Let’s look at the scientific studies addressing the benefits specific to psychological health and mental strength, which both contribute to how gratitude builds fortitude.
Robert Emmons, PhD., the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. According to his research, gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.
According to Emmons, “There’s a number of studies showing that in the face of serious trauma, adversity, and suffering if people have a grateful disposition, they’ll recover more quickly. I believe gratitude gives people a perspective from which they can interpret negative life events and help them guard against post-traumatic stress and lasting anxiety.” The research from Emmons and others confirms that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.
Gratitude and Trauma
There are several studies that have looked at the connection between trauma and gratitude and emotional wellness:
- A 2003 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology looked at gratitude as a major factor in resilience after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
- A 2006 study in Behavior Research and Therapy conducted with Vietnam War veterans found that those with higher levels of gratitude had lower scores of PTSD.
- In a 2008 study conducted by Alex Wood for the Journal of Research in Personality shows that gratitude blocks toxic and negative emotions such as envy, resentment, and regret. It’s difficult to feel envious and grateful at the same time.
- A 2009 study identified the benefits of gratitude in survivors of the Indonesian earthquake.
- A 2017 study found a link between gratitude and the resilience of survivors in a Seattle school shooting.
In a nutshell, all of the studies found that gratitude helped to build resilience after a crisis, to increase emotional wellbeing, and to decrease the effects of PTSD.
So whether the trials you are going through are big or small, gratitude opens the door to emotional resilience and FORTITUDE.
More Gratitude Resources You Will Love
Are you Inspired? It’s time for more GRATITUDE!
Love, hugs, and I’m grateful for you!
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Chesterton, G. K. (1924). St. Francis of Assisi. New York: Doran
Pruyser, P. W. (1976). The minister as diagnostician: Personal problems in pastoral perspective. Philadelphia: Westminster Press