The Psychology of Giving Thanks

by Fluffleberry on December 2, 2011

I was reading my friend’s amazing Feeling Food blog and was inspired to write my own gratitude blog.

The end of November marked the celebration of gratitude in Thanks Giving, an opportunity to surround yourself with those you love and give thanks. I’ve had a tough year and am currently going through a divorce. It has been a painful time and the grief and loss has been overwhelming. During this time it’s been vital for me to focus on what I do have and not what I don’t as I know the many benefits of gratitude.

I once heard Father Martin, an inspirational 12-Step speaker, describe gratitude as “the most beautiful adornment of the human soul.” This phrase has been rattling around in my mind ever since. Gratitude of course is one of the most important and healing spiritual principals in the 12-Step programme and Positive Psychologists now have the research to back up exactly how this works.

In my blog post “Attitude of Gratitude” I have mentioned the benefits of writing daily gratitude lists and how writing 5 things you are grateful for on a daily basis has been proven to be more effective than anti-depressant medication.

Through empirical research using many groups of people, including patients recovering from transplant operations Positive Psychologist have found that increased levels of gratitude are linked to the following…

  • Optimism
  • Success
  • Physical Well-Being
  • Spirituality
  • Social Well-Being and Empathy with Others
  • Personal Resources
  • Broadened Thought/Action Repertoires
  • Stress Reduction
  • Reduction of Negative Emotions
  • Reduced Denial

We are all familiar with a downward spiral of depression. It has also been found that positive emotions can trigger upward development spirals towards improved well-being and people becoming the higher version of themselves. So what are we waiting for? Let’s start counting our blessings and give thanks this November.

Technique for Writing an Effective Gratitude List

When you are writing a gratitude list it is important to be mindful and keep it fresh. When you do this exercise everyday one can begin to take the exercise itself for granted so in order to be mindful try to re-live the experience e.g. taste the hot cross bun. To keep it fresh try to write a couple of big things that repeat themselves, such as your pet and small things that have happened specifically for that day.

Set aside five free minutes each night for the next two weeks, preferably right before brushing your teeth for bed. Think back over the previous twenty-four hours and write down, on separate lines, up to five things in your life you are grateful or thankful for.

My Gratitude List For Today

My beautiful babies. I love you so much


Nicholas. Thank you for looking after me when I was ill this week.


My darling, darling friend. Thank you for all the love you’ve shown me.


My baby brother. Fattys Forever!


The early Christmas pressie I was given last night. So soft and snuggly!

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