-- intro: With Thanksgiving approaching, many Americans have gratitude on their minds. Expressing thanks does a lot to increase wellbeing, the science shows. Here, eight proven benefits feeling grateful has on the mind, body and soul.
quicklist: 1 category: The Science of Gratitude title: Happiness url: text: In a study led by the University of California, Davis, some subjects were asked to write down five things they were grateful for over the course of a week while another group jotted down five obstacles they encountered. After 10 weeks, the gratitude group reported feeling 25 percent happier than the hassled group.
But the benefits didn’t end there. Those that gave thanks also did more to take care of themselves like for instance, exercising an average of 1.5 hours more per week than their stressed-out counterparts.
quicklist: 2 category: The Science of Gratitude title: Heart Health url: text: The UC Davis researchers also found that people who count their blessings even just once a week enjoyed a significant drop in blood pressure. And in a University of Connecticut study, patients who cultivated a more positive, thankful attitude after having a heart attack reported fewer second heart episodes for up to eight years compared with grumpier patients.
quicklist: 3 category: The Science of Gratitude title: Sleep url: text: It doesn’t matter if you’re Type A and fueled by stress – if you consciously foster thankful thoughts and behaviors, you’ll sleep better, according to British researchers.
In the study, people who reported higher levels of gratitude fell asleep faster, reached a deeper level of rest, and slept longer, compared with people who were naturally less grateful. They also felt better and had less difficulty staying awake during the day. The researchers also noted that gratitude can be learned.
quicklist: 4 category: The Science of Gratitude title: Resilience url: text: Counting your blessings helps a range of emotions, even for those who live with mental health problems. Vietnam veterans both with and without post-traumatic stress disorder developed a more positive outlook on life after a daily meditation on gratitude, one study found. They also reported feeling more motivated and a higher level of self-esteem.
quicklist: 5 category: The Science of Gratitude title: Relationships url: text: Squabbles over who does more housework or carries more weight on an office project are a downer but it turns out expressing thanks for a partner’s actions is one of the most powerful ways to keep the peace in a relationship.
Division of labor, University of California at Berkeley researchers noted, was less important for a harmonious partnership, than a sincere expression of thanks and recognition for each partner’s efforts.
quicklist: 6 category: The Science of Gratitude title: Tweet Your Gratitude With Us, Today at 1 p.m., ET url: text: Take some time to count your blessings with ABC Health on our pre-Thanksgiving Tweet chat today at 1 p.m., ET. Join ABC News chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser, the ABC Health team and people from all over the country as we give thanks and explore why it’s so important to express gratitude all year long.