Expressing gratitude may help boost your relationship and also enhance your psychological and physical well-being, a study has found.
The findings, published in the journal Review of Communication, showed that gratitude contributes to long-term success in relationships and personal well-being — “up to six months after a deliberate expression to one’s relationship’s partner.”
Just as we periodically boost our immune system through vaccines, we can boost our relationships and mental state by expressing gratitude to our partners on a regular basis, the researchers said.
Expressions of gratitude are often a response to others’ acts of generosity — if you receive a gift from someone, or an act of kindness, you reciprocate by showing gratitude, sometimes publicly, to highlight the giver’s altruistic act.
Gratitude is a different emotion from happiness because it so often stems from the actions of another individual.
“To experience gratitude, one must receive a message, and interpret the message,” said Stephen M. Yoshimura from the National Communication Association — a US-based not-for-profit.
“Gratitude consistently associates with many positive social, psychological, and health states, such as an increased likelihood of helping others, optimism, exercise, and reduced reports of physical symptoms,” Yoshimura said.
Regularly communicating gratitude may also enhance our social connectedness.
In addition, people who experience and express gratitude have reported fewer symptoms of physical illness, more exercise, and better quality of sleep.
Various studies have also shown that expressing and experiencing gratitude increases life satisfaction, vitality, hope and optimism.
Moreover, it also contributes to decreased levels of depression, anxiety, envy and job-related stress and burnout, the researchers noted.