The Double Benefits of World Gratitude Day
Sept. 21 is World Gratitude Day, a day dedicated to showing thanks and appreciation to the many different people in your life. While many people appreciate receiving gratitude, what they may not know is that expressing gratitude actually makes them feel better, too.
Steven Toepfer, Ph.D., associate professor and the coordinator for the Human Development and Family Science bachelor degree program at Kent State University, has conducted research on how showing gratitude affects three aspects of well-being.
Happiness, life satisfaction and depression were all measured in the study. Some subjects were asked to write letters of gratitude about something that was important to them.
There are many expressions of gratitude, and they all can benefit one's well-being.
“Saying ‘thank you’ taps into a deeper reservoir of being thankful and appreciating something.”
“Saying ‘thank you’ taps into a deeper reservoir of being thankful and appreciating something,” Toepfer said. “Turning up those emotions tends to do something positive for us. So, there are healthy benefits to realizing and appreciating something in your life.”
In the study, subjects were asked to write to anyone they wanted to. Toepfer said some of them wrote to friends, family, dogs and even celebrities.
Toepfer’s study concluded that happiness and life satisfaction increased after writing letters of gratitude to those they are grateful for.
One aspect that Toepfer said he regrets not officially conducting in his research is how the letters affected the receivers, along with tracking the three aspects of well-being.
“I mailed them to the recipients and when this was all done, I got a lot of great feedback,” Toepfer said.
Toepfer also notes that this is one topic of research he hopes to revisit soon because of the many different directions you can take in the subject of gratitude and well-being.
According to “How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain,” expressing gratitude can be emotionally helpful even if you do not share it in the form of a letter.
We asked Kent State students who they were going to express their appreciation to this World Gratitude Day and how they plan on showing it.
Courtney Chapel, a junior nursing major, is most thankful for a furry friend in her life.
“I’m most grateful for my dog, Cooper."
“I’m most grateful for my dog, Cooper,” Chapel said. “He is my favorite part about visiting home, and next time I’m there, I'll show my thanks by doing his favorite thing, going on a walk.”
On the other hand, Connor Schultz, a freshman psychology major, wants to express gratitude to his boyfriend and close friends.
"I will take a moment to appreciate those people closest to me when I see them."
“I actually didn’t know that World Gratitude Day was a thing, but I will take a moment to appreciate those people closest to me when I see them,” Schultz said.
Junior Ashli Hall, a sports exercise and performance psychology major, said her mom will receive her gratitude.
“I’m always grateful for my mom because she always puts my needs before her own.”
“I’m always grateful for my mom because she always puts my needs before her own,” Hall said. “I will actually be going home this weekend, so I’ll express that gratitude by spending some quality time with her.”
No matter the recipient or expression, there are several ways to show appreciation on this World Gratitude Day. Just remember, Sept. 21 doesn’t have to be the only day you show gratitude because science says the more gratitude you show, the better you will feel.