Years of research has shown that writing in a gratitude journal every day makes us happier. But a new study is showing that we may feel even better if, in addition to putting "pen to paper," we thanked those human (or frogs)we're grateful for face to face. According to a study done at the University of Limerick, when we also verbally express the gratitude we're journaling about, we feel even better! Their study showed that those who not only wrote in their gratitude journal but also expressed their gratitude to at least one person each week, had their negative emotions decrease, they felt less depressed, and were more emotionally balanced than before they started the study. Brenda O'Connell, lead author, says "When you feel thankful for someone, actually thank them!" Being instructed to verbally express gratitude was particularly powerful for those participants who came into the study with higher symptoms of depression. "In their case," the study reported," there was a direct link between how often they expressed gratitude in their relationships and how much more positive they felt one month after the experiment."
Expressing gratitude to someone has a big impact on us; it can boost our happiness months later, make us see them more positively, and strengthen our relationship with them. "Gratitude interventions can improve markers of well-being, but these effects are not always straightforward and sustainable," say new researchers on the subject. Their study is part of a new wave of research on gratitude that is exploring not just IF gratitude journals work, but also how and when. It does appear, however, that if we frogs (and humans, too) want to reap the benefits, we probably need to practice gratitude continually, aiming to cultivate a more enduring "attitude of gratitude."
I'm still writing in my Book of Happiness (that's what I call my gratitude journal) but perhaps I need to start personally thanking those I feel the most gratitude for; like you, my readers. So let me just conclude this blog with a great big, heart-felt and sincere "THANK YOU" to all of you who take your precious time to read the words written here by this humble and grateful little frog.