Scientists have published a study in the journal Review of Communication wherein they have found the those who express gratitude are better off in terms of psychological and physical well-being.
Researchers also found that expressing gratitude could also contribute to long-term success in relationships. Scientists at University of Montana, US, suggest that there is a connection between gratitude and positive social, psychological and health states.
Expressions of gratitude are often a response to others’ acts of generosity – if you receive a gift from someone, or an act of kindness, you reciprocate by showing gratitude, sometimes publicly, to highlight the giver’s altruistic act.
Gratitude is a different emotion from happiness because it so often stems from the actions of another individual.
“To experience it, one must receive a message, and interpret the message,” the researchers said.
Numerous studies show that expressing and experiencing gratitude increases life satisfaction, vitality, hope and optimism. However, the researchers argue that not enough research has been done on the communication of gratitude and its effect on well-being, and they propose further avenues for analysis of gratitude messages and their impact.
Expressing and experiencing gratitude contributes to decreased levels of depression, anxiety, envy, and job-related stress and burnout. Perhaps most intriguing is that people who experience and express gratitude have reported fewer symptoms of physical illness, more exercise and better quality of sleep.
While the immediate effects of gratitude expression are clear, the researchers argue that it also contributes to long-term success in relationships and personal well-being – “up to six months after a deliberate expression to one’s relationship’s partner.”