The science behind gratitude: depression and relationships

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” —William Arthur Ward

In some of my previous posts I looked at the effect of gratitude on sleep, physical health and well-being. These are just a few of the many benefits that have been ascribed to practicing gratitude. Here is a brief peek at two others I deem extremely important:

Better relationships:

Sara Algoe and her colleagues found that grateful couples were more satisfied in their relationships and felt more connected with each other, with gratitude acting as a “booster shot for the relationship”. Amie Gorden et al. showed that people who feel more appreciated by their partners by them expressing gratitude, appreciate their partners more in turn as well, along with being more responsive to their partner’s needs. They were also more committed and likely to remain in that relationship over time. Lambert and colleagues found that partners who expressed gratitude felt more comfortable in expressing relationship concerns. Gratitude might just be one of the key ingredients to a lasting relationship!

Less depressive symptoms:

It is theorized that there are three paths that connect gratitude with depressive symptoms. The first is that there is a direct path between gratitude and depressive symptoms. The second considers the positive reframing of negative or neutral events, triggering a more grateful state. The third postulates that gratitude generates more positive emotions, which should lessen the severity of the depression or stop it from worsening. Lambert and his colleagues looked at all three paths. They showed that gratitude was associated with fewer depressive symptoms, and that the effect was mediated through positive reframing as well as through positive emotions and so found evidence supporting all three pathways.

Gratitude is also said to promote more patience, better self-confidence, better self-care, less materialism and longer lasting happiness!


With all these benefits, why wouldn’t you give it a go- it only takes about 5 minutes of your day.

For those of you who would like to participate in the next gratitude challenge by Karl Staib starting on the first of January:


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