Tag Archives: gratitude

The Science of Gratitude

Last Thanksgiving season, we considered different ways that teachers and children’s music studio owners can teach thankfulness in the classroom. Since then, more and more scientific studies have been conducted to explore exactly how gratitude works with the chemistry of mind and body. While harder to measure, the practice of gratitude and its spiritual benefits have been taught by major religions across the globe. The benefits of gratitude are numerous and affect emotional and social well-being, personality, career, and health.

Just a Few of the Many Benefits of Gratitude

Scientific studies have shown us that realizing, practicing, and demonstrating gratitude…

  • Makes us happier – Noticing what we already have makes us feel positive about our lives.
  • Increases our psychological well-being and self-esteem – It enhances our positive emotions and discourages suicidal tendencies in depressed and stressed individuals.
  • Makes us more likable and expands social connections – Gratitude improves our romantic relationships, improves our friendships, and increases our social support network.
  • Increases optimism and spiritualism – It makes us more giving, reduces our materialism, and enhances our optimism.
  • Enhances our careers and reduces work related stress – Gratitude makes us better managers by increasing patience and improving decision making while helping us to find meaning in our work, contributing to reduced turnover.
  • Improves our overall physical health – It reduces our blood pressure, improves our sleep habits, reduces depressive symptoms, and encourages exercise.

Scientific Evidence on the Benefits of Gratitude

So how do we know about these apparent positive benefits of practicing gratitude? More and more scientifically based studies are being conducted year after year, with encouraging findings. It is important to note because many of these studies are behavioral, they cannot absolutely prove cause and effect. However, most support a strong association between gratitude and an individual’s well-being. For example, a 2018 study on individuals seeking mental health guidance showed that those participants who wrote letters of gratitude reported feeling better and recovered sooner than those who did not. Hypothalamic regulation, which is triggered by gratitude and simple acts of kindness, has been shown to help with deeper and healthier sleep. Another study conducted by psychologists specializing on research into gratitude asked participants to write about events that affected them, positive or negative. The study found that those who wrote more often about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Finally, a 2019 study in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that there is a link between gratitude and happiness in children by the age of 5, while another found the same results in children ages 11 to 13.

The evidence for the positive benefits of practicing and demonstrating gratitude point to greater mental, physical, and spiritual well-being in both children and adults. In this season of giving thanks, showing children how to practice gratitude can help them become healthier and happier throughout their lives. Whether at the family dinner table, in social circles, or even the children’s music classroom, coaching gratitude is beneficial to both learner and teacher alike.