Skip navigation
C. Counting Your Blessings Can Improve Your Health

Narrator: This is Science Today. People who count their blessings, so to speak, not only experience an improved state of emotional and physical well-being, but also successfully fulfill life goals. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis proved this long held belief in class.

Emmons: We randomly assigned students into one of three conditions. A third of them were instructed to write about hassles; another third of them wrote about things that they were grateful or thankful for and a third group wrote about just major events that were happening to them during the week, so it was a mixture of good and bad events.

Narrator: The >grateful group' were more positive and had fewer physical complaints - even those who had once considered themselves grumpy.

Emmons: So you're not locked into a particular way of looking at the world just because maybe that's the way in which you typically have approached it in the past and people can learn to focus on positive things. They can focus on things that they're thankful for and that can affect their lives - both their mood but also their physical health, which I think is an important contribution here.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.