The gratitude group emerged from the study 25% happier than groups two and three. Researchers also found they were in better health and averaged an hour and a half more exercise than the other groups each week. On a side note, appreciation proved to be contagious as the spouses of the first group, noticing the change in their mate, began counting their blessings as well.
Another study found clinically depressed people express 50% less gratitude than non-depressed individuals. In fact, researchers concluded that gratitude is one of the strongest human character traits linked to good mental health.
In general, people who are more grateful have higher levels of subjective well-being. Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships. Grateful people also have less negative coping strategies. This means they are less likely to try to avoid the problem, deny there is a problem, blame themselves, or cope through substance abuse. They sleep better; thinking less negative and more positive thoughts before going to sleep. If a pill was able to do all this, how many parents would mortgage their house to give it to their teenage son or daughter?!!!
NOTE: Gratitude IS NOT the same as indebtedness. The latter will give you the perception that you are under an obligation to make some form of repayment and will motivate you to avoid those you are indebted to. On the other hand, gratitude will cause you to seek out your benefactor and actually try to improve your relationship with them.
In conclusion, one of the smartest persons in history, Albert Einstein, summed up gratitude this way: