Hey everyone, Sameer Petro here, today I’ll be sharing about Grateful Jordan. It is an initiative driven by research on gratitude. Research shows that we can increase our happiness by up to 25% by being grateful.
First, let me define gratitude. “As an emotion, gratitude is… a two-step cognitive process: (a) recognizing that one has obtained a positive outcome, and (b) recognizing that there is an external source for this positive outcome.” (Emmons & McCullough, 2003) Three adjectives commonly used to define gratitude are grateful, thankful, and appreciative. Research shows that exercising gratitude leads to more positive emotions and less negative emotions. For example, grateful people report experiencing more life satisfaction, optimism, vitality, and less depression and envy (Froh, JJ, et al., 2014). So what does that look like in our daily lives?
The research study I’m referring to was conducted by Emmons & McCullough in 2003 on college students. The class was split into three groups. Group 1 was the gratitude condition, they were asked to write down five things they were grateful for from the prior week. Group 2 was the hassles condition, they were asked to write down five daily hassles from the last week. Group 3 was the control group, they had to simply list five events with no positive or negative aspects. After the 10 week study, the gratitude group reported being 25% happier than the hassles group. Reporting more positive emotions, and less negative emotions.
“Compared with less grateful people, grateful people report experiencing more life satisfaction, optimism, vitality, and less depression and envy.”(Froh, JJ, et al., 2014)
People experiencing gratitude had higher activity in the hypothalamus, which regulates body functions like eating and sleeping. Gratitude also activates dopamine the “reward neurotransmitter” (Zahn et al, 2008) , which is important in initiating action – Increasing chances of repeating what made you feel good, which is the virtuous cycle. “Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision-making. Decision-making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, makes you happier.” (Korb, 2015)
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