Feeling grateful can bring us a variety of benefits, including better mental and physical health and improved relationships. We tend to think of gratitude as an emotion we experience when things are going well, one that is closely associated with well-being and contentment. But does it serve any purpose when life isn’t so rosy?
In a 2014 study in Psychological Science, researchers asked 75 participants to remember a time they felt grateful, a time they felt happy, or what they did on a usual day. The participants then made a series of choices between smaller, short-term rewards (i.e., receiving less money but sooner) or larger, long-term rewards (i.e., receiving more money later). For example, one question asked participants, “Would you rather receive $40 now or $55 62 days from now?”
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