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An Experiment in Gratitude: The Science of Happiness

29 Aug

An Experiment in Gratitude: The Science of Happiness

Posted By: 
Kaitlyn Guay

Adults will tell you: Adulting is hard. Paying taxes, making money, having to choose between fixing the sink or funding your Star Wars collectable habit, all these things are hard.

But let’s be honest: life is hard, no matter your age. There’s always something we’re trying to figure out. As a young adult, your formative years are one long struggle of trying to find out who you are and what you want from life. When you’re an adult, your life is spent trying to stay true to yourself while maintaining adult responsibilities.

So when we’re constantly wading through the river of life, not knowing what’s beyond the bend, how can we stay happy?

This video via @SoulPancake has an idea: Gratitude. They gave a written test on several volunteers, then asked them to write a letter to someone who had greatly influenced their life. Afterward, they asked the participants to pick up the phone, call that person, and read their letter out loud. Before leaving, the test was given again with a different format, so it didn’t look the same.

“For those who actually picked up the phone and expressed their gratitude, we saw increases between 4 and 19%.”

However, the fascinating find was that the increase in happiness was directly related to how unhappy the person was to begin with. The unhappier they were, the happier they became after practicing gratitude.

“The person who experienced the biggest jump in happiness was the least happy person who walked in the door. What does that mean? That means that if you’re having a particularly tough time, trying this out will more likely have a greater impact on you.”

What do you think? Who is your greatest influencer? Feel free to tag them below and let them know you’re grateful to have them in your life.