When we feel gratitude, it is often accompanied by positive emotions such as happiness, love, and joy. These emotions are not only pleasant in the moment, but research has shown that they also have lasting effects on our overall well-being.
One study found that participants who wrote about things they were grateful for experienced increased levels of happiness and decreased levels of depression, anxiety, and stress (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
Other research has shown that gratitude is associated with greater life satisfaction, positive affect, vitality, and self-esteem (Wood, Joseph, & Linley, 2007).
So why does gratitude have such a powerful effect on our emotions?
One reason may be that gratitude helps us focus on the positive aspects of our lives. In the midst of difficult times, it can be easy to get caught up in all of the negative things that are happening.
However, when we take the time to reflect on what we are grateful for, we are reminded of the good things in our lives. This can help us to see our situation in a more positive light and feel better about ourselves.
Gratitude may also lead to positive emotions because it helps us to connect with others. When we express gratitude, we often do so in response to something someone else has done for us.
This act of thanksgiving creates a sense of connection and appreciation between us and the other person. These positive emotions can then spill over into other areas of our lives, making us feel happier and more fulfilled overall.