Expressed Gratitude = Happiness

By Laura Braden

Every now and then a song, video or article crosses your path that stops you in your tracks. It captures your heart, imagination or attention, and it helps you see the world a little better … and a bit brighter.

Last week, I stumbled across a video that gave me goosebumps because it struck me as universally true.

The concept was relatively simple: a study proclaimed that expressing gratitude literally made you happier. Seems obvious enough, right?

But the geniuses behind wanted to test (and demonstrate) that theory so they recruited volunteers for an innovative social experiment:

Definitely watch the video, but basically they asked people how happy they were (in general) that day. Then they asked them to close their eyes, and think of someone that had had a positive influence in their life … someone they loved and were grateful for. Then they asked the volunteers to write down why.

The twist? After they were done, the volunteers were told to call that person (right then and there) and read what they’d wrote. The experiences and reactions were mixed, and afterwards, they had to report how happy they were now … in that moment.

Turns out folks who couldn’t reach loved ones or had to leave a voicemail jumped 2 – 4 percent. But the ones who got to express their gratitude saw a jump of 4 – 18 percent in happiness. In fact, the biggest jump came from the person who walked into the experiment the unhappiest.

You can watch the video above/here, and I dare you to not get a little misty. You can literally see their faces and expressions transform as they read the notes and then hear their loved ones’ response.

I was inspired. I was moved. And I wanted to try it out myself.

So I pinged a few of the Sacramento peeps that I’m grateful for and asked a very vague favor: “Social experiment I want to do for GOTG. It’s 100% positive, promise. All it involves is you coming over one night for around an hour. And of course they’ll be vino. 🙂 You in?”

Mere minutes passed before I heard back from everyone with a unanimous YES. (My friends freaking rock.)

Jamie Romas ultimately had a scheduling conflict, and Rachael O’Brien actually guessed what we were doing, which negated the entire experiment (!!) … But one by one, they came over and and the results were the same. I used a scale of 1 to 10 to keep it simple, and we saw 10 – 30 percent jumps in happiness!

Check out our video here/below (excuse some of the technical glitches, Scorsese I am not.), and see for yourself:

Those of us in politics know that it’s easier to defeat something than it is to pass it, and life is no different. It’s easier to mourn what you don’t have … to be jealous of those who (seem to) have it better than you .. to think that happiness will just happen once you achieve the perfect job/body/relationship … or submit to insecurities rather than see your life’s purpose.

But those are choices we make – reactions to what life throws at us.

Because as our video shows, we can be happy (or at least happier) right now. All you have to do is be grateful for what you have, and go out and thank those who support and love you.

Added bonus? You’ll make your loved ones’ day a bit brighter in the process. #PassItOn

Isn’t science awesome?



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