The Science of Gratitude

The Science of GratitudeGratitude: It’s a powerful emotion that can change not only our whole mental outlook, but also the very course of our lives. It can heal a broken spirit and a broken heart. It even has the power to boost our health. A great deal of research has been dedicated to discovering exactly how gratitude improves our lives. Turns out, there’s a whole science behind being grateful.

“Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished,” says Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the author of Thanks: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happy. “Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. People are moved, opened and humbled through expressions of gratitude.”

But practicing an “attitude of gratitude” does not come easily for most of us; it’s something we have to cultivate. In fact, gratitude is a “chosen attitude,” according to Emmons. It takes an act of will to be thankful for life’s blessings and bounty, as well as life’s problems and challenges.

“Be thankful for my problems? That’s crazy,” you might think. But challenges can be life’s greatest teacher. When we overcome difficulties and learn to resolve painful situations, we gain a greater understanding of ourselves, our loved ones, and all our fellow travelers on planet Earth.

Being grateful leads us to be satisfied, a feeling that’s new to so many of us in recovery. As addicts, we suffer from the disease of more: We crave more drugs, more booze, more food, more excitement, more possessions, more money. We want more of everything, and we want it now. By choosing to be thankful for who we are right now and what we have today, we help to stem the phenomenon of craving. As our mental obsession is relieved, feelings of self-pity soon give way to contentment and peace.

Likewise, as our emotional wellbeing improves, our health often follows suit. Countless studies have demonstrated the link between our mental outlook and our physical state. Gratitude is the antidote to stress, and all the ills that stress brings: High blood pressure, headaches, muscle tension, ulcers, inflammation, and on, and on. Feeling better physically also makes us more likely to be more active, which in turn makes us feel better mentally. Thus, a daily habit of practicing gratitude sets in motion an ongoing cycle of emotional and physical health.

In this way, our lives are restored to balance. With treatment, and the practice of gratitude, our addictions go into remission, and we become free: Free to live without the tyranny of drugs and alcohol, one day at a time.


Recovery doesn’t just happen. To fully recover in mind, body, and spirit requires professional guidance. You have work to do. At Harmony Place, you never have to do the work alone. We believe in your right of self-determination. We’re meeting where you are and taking you where you want to go. For information on our total continuum of care and luxury residential treatment and a private consultation, call us today: 1-855-652-9048