The Science Behind Gratitude - The Impact of a Grateful Mind

Gratitude is more than simply saying “thank you”. Gratitude is a powerful emotion that has huge benefits for our overall health and well being. Scientific research into the power of gratitude has gained more momentum in recent years, showing evidence to support the claims given by those who practice it. Enhanced mental, physical and social health are among the list of life improvements given by simply showing gratitude for your life. In this blog we will dive deeper into the science behind gratitude and how it can have such a positive impact on our lives.


What is gratitude?

Gratitude is the appreciation for that which we already have. It is knowing and recognising the good things in life. This could be anything, big or small! From the companionship of a pet, to a friendly gesture, even down to things we sometimes overlook; having a roof over your head and a hot meal everyday.

While we experience gratitude naturally, it can be cultivated through a purposeful daily practice.



The Benefits of Gratitude

Various research studies have show gratitude to have a wide range of positive effects on our lives:

1. Improved Mental Health

Practicing gratitude has been linked to lowering levels of depression and anxiety. By focussing on the positive aspects of our lives, looking for the good in the things we have, we can shift our mindset away from destructive, negative thought patterns.

2. Greater Physical Health

People who practice gratitude and live a grateful life may be more likely to take part in other healthy behaviours, such as exercise and healthy balanced diets. The combinations of these practices can also lead to better sleep and reduced pain.

3. Stronger Relationships

Allowing gratitude into your life can strengthen relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Recognising other people’s contributions to your life and the world as a whole can build trust and mutual appreciation. This can lead to more meaningful and fulfilled connections with those around you.

4. Increased Happiness and Life Satisfaction

Living a life of gratitude and making it a part of your daily practice can lead to a boost in overall happiness and satisfaction with your life. Gratitude helps us to focus on what we have rather than what we lack, promoting a sense of abundance.

5. More Empathy, Less Aggression

Gratitude has been found to increase feelings of empathy and reduce aggressive behaviour. People who practice gratitude are more likely to see things from others’ points of view and respond with kindness and compassion.



What The Science Says

How does gratitude work at producing all of these positive life benefits? The science involves a number of different psychological and neurological mechanisms:

1. Positive Neurotransmitters

Gratitude activates the happiness and reward centres of the brain, releasing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. This creates a positive feedback loop in the brain, making us feel happy when we express gratitude for the thing we have in our lives.

2. Cognitive Reframing

Practicing gratitude can encourage what is known as cognitive reframing. This involves shifting our perspective from the negative to the positive. By focussing on what is good, we can train our brains to recognise and appreciate the positive aspects of our lives.

3. Stress Reduction

Gratitude has been shown to lower stress hormones such as cortisol. Lower levels of stress can lead to an increase in physical and mental wellbeing.



How to Cultivate Gratitude

Gratitude is a simple but effective practice that can be easily added to your daily routine. Here are a few ways to get started:

Keep a daily gratitude journal: Write down three things you’re grateful for every day. This can help to develop a habit of focusing on the positive.

Express Appreciation: Take time to thank the people in your life who have made a positive difference. A kind note, text or chat can go a long way.

Practice Mindfulness: Take a moment or two out of your day to focus on the present and appreciate the little things around you. This can help cultivate a greater sense of gratitude for everyday experiences.

Visualise Gratitude: Imagine and picture in your mind all the things that your grateful for, as vividly as possible. The simple mental exercise can reinforce your feelings of appreciation.




Gratitude is a simple yet powerful emotion and tool that has the power to transform our lives for the better. By understanding the science behind gratitude and making it part of your daily practice, you can really start to experience the huge benefits of mental, physical and social well-being. Gratitude is very real and a very easy way to start seeing changes in your life.

Make sure to take a moment everyday to acknowledge the good things and people in your life. Express gratitude towards them. See the difference it can make.


To help kickstart your gratitude journey, you can find our FREE GRATITUDE POSTERS here.