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“Look around the room, look at the people around you, recall events that happen earlier today and find three things you are grateful for”. I love to do this exercise as part of the intro part of my team building workshops.

Recently one of the participants asked  why we are doing it.

I shared a brief answer and promised to share more extensive reply lately. Elusive “lately” finally happen.

Selected articles about benefits of gratitude:

The Science and Research on Gratitude and Happiness (Incl. Quotes + TedTalks)

The Benefits of Gratitude: 28 Questions Answered Thanks to Gratitude Research

Three Surprising Ways That Gratitude Works at Work

30 Scientific articles for those who like to dig deeper:

  1. Algoe, S. B., Fredrickson, B. L., & Gable, S. L. (2013). The social functions of the emotion of gratitude via expression. Emotion, 13, 605-609. doi:10.1037/a0032701
  2. Amin, A. (2014). The 31 benefits of gratitude you didn’t know about: How gratitude can change your life. Happier Human. Retrieved from
  3. Bartlett, M. Y., & DeSteno, D. (2006). Gratitude and prosocial behavior. Psychological Science, 17, 319-325. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01705.x
  4. Chen, G. (2017). Does gratitude promote recovery from substance misuse? Addiction Research & Theory, 25, 121-128. doi:10.1080/16066359.2016.1212337
  5. Cheng, F. K. (2015). Recovery from depression through Buddhist wisdom: An idiographic case study. Social Work in Mental Health, 13, 272-297. doi:10.1080/15332985.2014.891554
  6. Cheng, S., Tsui, P. K., & Lam, J. M. (2015). Improving mental health in health care practitioners: Randomized controlled trial of a gratitude intervention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83, 177-186. doi:10.1037/a0037895
  7. DeSteno, D., Bartlett, M. Y., Baumann, J., Williams, L. A., & Dickens, L. (2010). Gratitude as moral sentiment: Emotion-guided cooperation in economic exchange. Emotion, 10, 289-293. doi:10.1037/a0017883
  8. DeSteno, D., Li, Y., Dickens, L., & Lerner, J. S. (2014). Gratitude: A tool for reducing economic impatience. Psychological Science, 25, 1262-1267. doi:10.1177/0956797614529979
  9. Dik, B. J., Duffy, R. D., Allan, B. A., O’Donnell, M. B., Shim, Y., & Steger, M. F. (2015). Purpose and meaning in career development applications. The Counseling Psychologist, 43, 558-585. doi:10.1177/0011000014546872
  10. Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 377-389. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.84.2.377
  11. Hill, P. L., Allemand, M., & Roberts, B. W. (2013). Examining the pathways between gratitude and self-rated physical health across adulthood. Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 92-96. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2012.08.011
  12. Jackowska, M., Brown, J., Ronaldson, A., & Steptoe, A. (2016). The impact of a brief gratitude intervention on subjective well-being, biology and sleep. Journal of Health Psychology, 21, 2207-2217. doi:10.1177/1359105315572455
  13. Krysinska, K., Lester, D., Lyke, J., & Corveleyn, J. (2015). Trait gratitude and suicidal ideation and behavior: An exploratory study. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 36, 291-296. doi:10.1027/0227-5910/a000320
  14. Lambert, N. M., & Fincham, F. D. (2011). Expressing gratitude to a partner leads to more relationship maintenance behavior. Emotion, 11, 52-60. doi:10.1037/a0021557
  15. Lashani, Z., Shaeiri, M. R., Asghari-Moghadam, M. A., & Golzari, M. (2012). Effect of gratitude strategies on positive affectivity, happiness and optimism. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, 18, 164-166.
  16. Lin, C. (2017). The effect of higher-order gratitude on mental well-being: Beyond personality and unifactoral gratitude. Current Psychology, 36, 127-135. doi: 10.1007/s12144-015-9392-0
  17. McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J.-A. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112–127. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.82.1.112
  18. Millstein, R. A., Celano, C. M., Beale, E. E., Beach, S. R., Suarez, L., Belcher, A. M., & … Huffman, J. C. (2016). The effects of optimism and gratitude on adherence, functioning and mental health following an acute coronary syndrome. General Hospital Psychiatry, 43, 17-22. doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2016.08.006
  19. Ng, T. H. (2016). Embedding employees early on: The importance of workplace respect. Personnel Psychology, 69, 599-633. doi:10.1111/peps.12117
  20. Rash, J. A., Matsuba, M. K., & Prkachin, K. M. (2011). Gratitude and well‐being: Who benefits the most from a gratitude intervention? Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3, 350-369. doi:10.1111/j.1758-0854.2011.01058.x
  21. Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening, 42, 874-884.
  22. Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). How to increase and sustain positive emotion: The effects of expressing gratitude and visualizing best possible selves. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1, 73-82. doi:10.1080/17439760500510676
  23. Shipon, R. W. (1977). Gratitude: Effect on perspectives and blood pressures of inner-city African-American hypertensive patients. US: ProQuest Information & Learning. Accession Number: 2007-99018-513.
  24. Stoeckel, M., Weissbrod, C., & Ahrens, A. (2015). The adolescent response to parental illness: The influence of dispositional gratitude. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24, 1501-1509. doi:10.1007/s10826-014-9955-y
  25. Stone, D. I., & Stone, E. F. (1983). The effects of feedback favorability and feedback consistency. Academy of Management Proceedings (00650668), 178-182. doi:10.5465/AMBPP.1983.4976341
  26. Tsang, J., Carpenter, T. P., Roberts, J. A., Frisch, M. B., & Carlisle, R. D. (2014). Why are materialists less happy? The role of gratitude and need satisfaction in the relationship between materialism and life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 64, 62-66. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.02.009
  27. Urgesi, C., Aglioti, S. M., Skrap, M., & Fabbro, F. (2010). The spiritual brain: Selective cortical lesions modulate human self-transcendance. Neuron, 65, 309-319. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2010.01.026
  28. Watkins, P. C., Woodward, K., Stone, T., & Kolts, R. L. (2003). Gratitude and happiness: Development of a measure of gratitude, and relationships with subjective well-being. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 31, 431-451. doi:10.2224/sbp.2003.31.5.431
  29. Watson, D., Clark, L., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS Scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063-1070. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.54.6.1063
  30. Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2008). The role of gratitude in the development of social support, stress, and depression: Two longitudinal studies. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 854-871. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2007.11.003

What’s next?

Are you impressed about power of gratitude and want to share it with your team? how simple and practical behavior model is and want to apply it your next team building, training or other OD intervention? If you do, let us know! We’re always eager to help by facilitating your next team building event

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