The Power of Gratitude, According to Science

With Thanksgiving approaching on the last Thursday in November, gratitude is quickly becoming a hot topic. While it might seem like a trendy wellness concept or a fancy word for “thank you,” there’s actually plenty of science out there to support embracing gratitude. 

Whether you integrate gratitude into your Thanksgiving dinner rituals or adopt a daily practice, your brain and body will thank you. So, with that in mind, we’d be grateful if you’d read on to learn more.

What Gratitude Does to Your Brain

According to research by The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, gratitude can actually have lasting effects on the brain. They asked participants to write gratitude letters in combination with psychotherapy sessions. After three months or so, they scanned the brains of people writing letters and those who weren’t. At home, you can simply journal about what you’re thankful for, to have the same impact. 

In both groups, “when people felt more grateful, their brain activity was distinct from brain activity related to guilt and the desire to help a cause.” But the brains of the gratitude practitioners showed even greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex when they felt grateful – that means it’s a sign that being thankful can have an enduring ripple effect! 

A 2019 randomized clinical trial of 1,337 people looked at the impact of a “gratitude intervention” on well-being and mental health. One group was asked to list things that made them grateful each day, a second group tracked neutral events and a final group logged daily complaints. The gratitude group was the only one to report they felt happier and more satisfied with life, with less “negative affect.” (Maybe this is why “Festivus,” with its “airing of the grievances,” never caught on!)

How Gratitude Impacts Stress

Stress is unavoidable, but gratitude can help, in part by lowering levels of cortisol, one of our stress hormones. It makes sense: When you focus on what’s good in life, you think less about what’s causing you stress. 

Combine an A.M. gratitude practice with your daily cup of Good Morning Sunshine™ Coffee + Adaptogens. While you’re fighting fatigue with more than just caffeine, you’re also sipping on smooth, Certified Organic coffee infused with organic red ginseng extract, to help manage stress for the long haul.* As you sip, offer a daily gratitude. It’s a simple way to start the day with “posi vibes”!

How Gratitude and Sleep are Connected

While more research is needed, one study found that people who kept a gratitude journal slept a half-hour more than people who didn’t, on average. Who doesn’t want to get more sleep? That’s reason enough to try a gratitude practice at night. 

Your practice doesn’t have to take long. Our tip: After you take your Hello Dreams™ sleep strip with Melatonin & Calm Down™ herbs, you have about 10 minutes before you can expect to drift off. That’s the perfect amount of time to turn off the lights, get cozy under the covers and think about the good stuff that happened today. By the time you get through your list, you’ll be drifting into deep slumber.

3 Simple Ways to Be Grateful (Without Sugar-Coating the Tough Stuff)

1. Make a gratitude sandwich.

Don’t ignore the bad stuff that happened, but do try to keep it in perspective. Think of two things that made you feel grateful today for every one that make you feel resentful, angry or annoyed.

2. Find the light where you can.

Life isn’t always unicorns and rainbows – and that’s OK. It’s part of the human experience. Use gratitude as a way to find the light during darker times. On those days where nothing seems to go your way, make it a point to think of at least one thing that’s good. It can be as simple as “good hair day” or “found a primo parking spot.”

3. Spread the gratitude around.

While the research shows that you can keep gratitude to yourself and still feel its effects, there’s no reason not to share it. If you’re grateful because for someone, tell them! 

We hope that, in addition to starting your day with a cup of Good Morning Sunshine™ Coffee + Adaptogens and ending it with Hello Dreams™ sleep strips with Melatonin & Calm Down™ herbs, you’ll integrate a gratitude practice into your routine. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.