Negativity has been known to be the root cause of most mental diseases. Most people who suffer from anxiety and depression have shown the common symptoms of thinking negatively. And recently scientific studies have come with data that supports the age-old belief that the heart that is content is happier. In other words, being thankful makes you happy.
At Indiana University, a group of researchers led by Prathik Kini came up with some interesting findings. They designed an experiment with 43 anxiety and depression patients. The experiment featured writing a letter of gratitude and then three months later going for a brain scan. During the scan, they were asked to imagine receiving a large amount of money and were questioned if they would like to donate it to show their thankfulness.
The brain activities recorded after that were amazing. The candidates who had written the letter showed more gratitude. A simple psychological analysis of how being thankful made them happy is that conscious investigation of thankfulness made them more aware of the good things around them. That, in turn, made them more optimistic and positive.
Over the course of the waiting period, they began to change. It was like a wound healing itself. They began to think more of their happy moments, relish the things they were fond of, build upon their flaws with a constructive approach and renewed vigor. The experiment successfully shifted its focus from the negative to the positive.
Later on, during the scan, they were less stressed and naturally more content. They were thankful and the exercise of finding things to be thankful for created a chain reaction situation that made them happy. The long-lasting and profound effects of the experiment are currently being explored. It could be a milestone development in the treatment of mental health issues.
Psychologist, Christian Jarret, described this development as particularly noteworthy. According to her, “The more you practice gratitude, the more attuned you are to it and the more you can enjoy its psychological benefits.” In short, ‘being thankful could make you happy’.
Researchers believe that Kini’s direction of experimentation could be a breakthrough in the field. It could become a procedure that many psychologists would likely implement on their patients. It might even combat chronic long-term mental health issues like depression where patients constantly relapse.
A solution could be reached where every time the patients were on the verge of relapse, they could be indulged in some basic exercises that would elevate their mood.