Reasons to be cheerful.. scientifically validated!

It takes just two minutes a week to make yourself happier. All you have to do is sit down make a list of five things you are grateful for and you’ll be 25% happier.

Jeremy at the always brilliant PsychBlog summarizes the evidence:

  1. Emmons and McCullough (2003) were surprised to find that happiness could be increased by a simple gratitude exercise. Participants took the time to write down 5 things they were grateful for each week, for 10 weeks. At the end of the study this group were 25% happier than a comparison group who simply listed five events from the week.
  2. Lyubomirsky et al. (2005) compared practising gratitude three times a week with once a week. They found that only those who carried out the exercise once a week were happier. This suggests overdoing the gratitude is not beneficial – perhaps because of habituation.
  3. Seligman, Steen, Park and Peterson (2005) carried out a randomised, placebo-controlled study. They followed participants up 6 months after they had begun carrying out a simple gratitude exercise and found they were happier and less depressed than a control group. In this study, though, participants initially wrote about what they were grateful for every day for a week.

As Jeremy says it’s so simple that people probably won’t do it. But since it does only take 2 minutes why not try. Set a weekly reminder in your calendar and jot down five things you are grateful about. Even if it doesn’t make you happier it should make you think.

Things I am grateful for, a random five

  1. my kitchen is pink
  2. i am perky
  3. dinosaurs
  4. romance
  5. i saw apocalyptica on friday

About caspar

Caspar is just one monkey among billions. Battering his keyboard without expectations even of peanuts, let alone of aping the Immortal Bard. By day he is an infantologist at Birkbeck Babylab, by night he runs BabyLaughter.net
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