While it seems pretty obvious that gratitude is a positive emotion, psychologists for decades rarely delved into the science of giving thanks. But in the last several years they have, learning in many experiments that it is one of humanity’s most powerful emotions. It makes you happier and can change your attitude about life, like an emotional reset button.
Especially in hard times, like these.
Beyond proving that being grateful helps you, psychologists also are trying to figure out the brain chemistry behind gratitude and the best ways of showing it.
University of Miami psychology professor Michael McCullough, who has studied people who are asked to be regularly thankful, said: “When you are stopping and counting your blessings, you are sort of hijacking your emotional system.”
And he means hijacking it from out of a funk into a good place. A very good place. Research by McCullough and others finds that giving thanks is a potent emotion that feeds on itself, almost the equivalent of being victorious. It could be called a vicious circle, but it’s anything but vicious.
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