Dr. Robert Emmons, UC Davis, has been researching gratitude for almost a decade. He has written a best selling book: Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.
According to Dr. Emmons, three take-home messages from his book are:
1. The practice of gratitude can increase happiness levels by approximately 25%.
2. It is not hard to achieve the benefit of gratitude: a few hours writing a gratitude journal for over 3 weeks can create an effect that lasts 6 months.
3. Cultivating gratitude brings other health benefits such as better sleep and more energy.
In Dr. Emmons’ gratitude study, in addition to keep a gratitude journal, you can also write a gratitude letter to someone who has a positive influence on your life.
Personally, I write thank you notes (via e-mail) and thank you cards as often as I can to colleagues who have made positive contributions towards the success of the projects at work. I am always amazed how happy my co-workers are when they receive my thank you notes. In return, they go out of their way to help the projects to be successful.