Research shows that being grateful is good for your health, promotes well-being and increases happiness!
Martin Seligman, known as the founder of positive psychology, has conducted extensive studies of depression, happiness and quality of life.
One project, where he studied the relationship between gratitude and depression, provided some surprising results. Subjects were asked over a certain period to take note of the positive things that happened to them during the day. They were asked to record this in a “gratitude” diary.
- These could include big things, such as the love they felt towards family members, or things they had mastered.
- They could also include small things, such as the observation that it was a sunny day, or that they had watched a movie they liked.
As part of the experiment, Seligman also asked subjects to record how deep their depression was.
His results showed that those who reported the deepest depression also reported the greatest effect!
Several studies confirm that practicing gratefulness, such as by recording feelings of gratitude in a journal, provides health benefits. Robert Emmons (one of the foremost researchers in the field) has conducted studies on the connection between gratitude and wellness.
Emmons’s research confirms that feeling grateful effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
Practicing gratefulness and appreciation can:
- Make us happier and promote well-being
- Reduce depression
- Help us handle difficult times
- Help ensure we sleep better and therefore feel more refreshed
- Make us feel more useful and have greater likelihood of making progress once we have set personal goals
- Get us to focus on the positive and reduce negative feelings
Get a better everyday life by focusing on positive happenings and feelings of mastery
For most of us, life consists of both ups and downs. Our self-esteem can fluctuate from day to day or from situation to situation. This is perfectly normal, yet we tend to criticize ourselves for everything that we can’t manage, and by thinking negative thoughts about ourselves or our lives.
We have developed the Mindfit app with this in mind, among others.
- Mindfit teaches users to shift their focus away from negative thought patterns and low self-esteem, to a greater sense of mastery and positive thoughts about themselves.
- It helps users to be aware of their problem areas, and gain insight into what prevents them from changing their situation, in part by becoming aware of negative thoughts and feelings.
By keeping track of positive happenings and your experiences of mastery, you help keep your spirits up as you work to change, and see that you are headed in the right direction.
It sounds simple, but it requires you to decide to set aside a few minutes regularly to do it. This is perhaps where the greatest challenge lies–remembering to do it. The Mindfit app takes this into account, and the app sends you alerts to help you get started.
We recommend that everyone starts small:
- Begin by recording positive events and experiences that happen during the course of your daily life.
- Take note of what makes you happy, when you master something and what you like.
- This will help you to shift your focus away from negative thought patterns to a greater sense of mastery and positive thoughts about yourself.
As you begin to keep track of positive events, it is common for negative thoughts and feelings to be weakened–just by virtue of keeping track. This happens because you give yourself permission to shift your focus from the things you can’t manage to the things that you can. That gives you space for other thoughts, and the negative thoughts and feelings shift more into the background.
Experience tells us that change consists of both progress and setbacks. With this in mind, we have collected different tools that can be of help when you’re facing a challenge. These are techniques that psychologists often use, ranging from breathing exercises to finding a symbol/talisman that can help you as you face your challenge.