What are the benefits of a grateful outlook? A study (PDF), by the Universities of California and Miami set out to examine just that. Here is what they found.
1. Weekly Graditute. One study focused on people who were to write down, on a weekly basis, 5 things they were grateful for from the previous week. They found that "weekly benefit listing was associated with more positive and optimistic appraisals of one’s life, more time spent exercising, and fewer reported physical symptoms."
2. Daily Graditude. In Study 2, people were asked to complete a survey every evening regarding what they were grateful for. This group had even more positive affects including more interpersonal benefits. "People led to focus on their blessings were also more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or offered emotional support to another, suggesting prosocial motivation as a consequence of the gratitude induction."
3. NMD and Gratidude. The third study focused on people with Neuromuscular Disease. They were also asked to report their gratidutes daily. The results were "in greater levels of positive affect, more sleep, better sleep quality, and greater optimism and a sense of connectedness to others. In Study 3, we even found that the gratitude intervention led to reductions in negative affect."