The Health Effects of Gratitude

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With the Thanksgiving holiday just a couple weeks away, I have seen gratitude articles and posts all over the place. Here’s some current research around gratitude that you and your daughter might find helpful.

  • Studies show that people who make a conscious effort to note things they are grateful for are significantly happier than those who do not, even months after keeping a consistent gratitude journal.
  • Grateful people tend to appreciate their health, leading them to engage in healthier behaviors and avoid harmful habits like smoking and excessive drinking. As a result, the practice of gratitude has been associated with lower blood pressure, a stronger heart, and better kidney function.
  • As we practice gratitude regularly, we train our brains to note the silver lining even in grim situations. This increases our resilience through trauma and loss.
  • Gratitude can work wonders in our relationships. When we show our partners, friends, parents or children that we are grateful for them, they are likely to appreciate us in return. Gratitude can rewire our brains to value the positive aspects of our relationships.
  • When gratitude is expressed, the recipient’s brain responds with a surge of the feel-good hormone dopamine. As he or she experiences the biological reward of your gratitude, she will feel grateful in return. Also, your gratitude will inspire others to continue performing acts of kindness—not just for you, but for others as well!
  • Anyone can be grateful! There is little to no correlation between material wealth or adversity and the sense of optimism, gratitude, and life satisfaction that individuals feel. In fact, there tends to be higher levels of optimism among those who have overcome tragedy early in life. You don’t need to have a lot to be grateful for what you have.

If you’re wondering how to get started, there are a number of apps designed to help you practice daily gratitude. Here are just a few:
Gratitude 365—A simple, free app with a calendar design that allows you to write entries and add photos each day and page through past entries, like a journal.
Gratitude Journal—Formatted to look like a typical paper diary, this app allows for multiple entries and photos per day, custom fonts and designs, and links to share entries on social media.
Gratitude Stream—This app provides a live stream of gratitudes from everyone using the app, so you can share your thanks publicly and read positive thoughts from others.
For more information on the health effects of gratitude, visit

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