It has been suggested that people who are more grateful have higher levels of well-being. Grateful people also have higher levels of control of their environment, personal growth, purpose in life, and self acceptance. It has been demonstrated that people who were more grateful coped better with a life transition. Specifically, people who were more grateful before the transition were less stressed, less depressed, and more satisfied with their relationships three months later.
Gratitude has been said to have one of the strongest links with mental health of any character trait. In one study concerning gratitude, participants were randomly assigned to one of six therapeutic intervention conditions designed to improve the participant’s overall quality of life. Out of these conditions, it was found that the biggest short-term effects occurred when participants wrote and delivered a letter of gratitude to someone in their life.
This condition showed a rise in happiness and a significant fall in depression, results which lasted up to one month after the event. Out of the six conditions, the longest lasting effects were caused by the act of writing gratitude journals where participants were asked to write down three things they were grateful for each day. These participants’ happiness scores also increased and continued to increase each time they were tested periodically after the experiment.
In fact, the greatest benefits were usually found to occur around six months after treatment began. This exercise was so successful that although participants were only asked to continue the journal for a week, many participants continued to keep the journal long after the study was over.