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Big List of All the Scientific Research on Gratitude

Giving thanks is much more than an American holiday called Thanksgiving; gratitude is a lifestyle that has physical,  psychological, and social benefits for everyone’s well-being and health. Science is providing more good evidence of gratitude’s effects on people.

The body of scientific research on the topic of gratitude has slowly grown in the past decade or so, along with advances in neurology. Here’s our collection of all the scientific research on gratitude we can find:

Neural correlates of gratitude, Frontiers in Psychology, 30 September 2015 by Glenn R. Fox, Jonas Kaplan, Hanna Damasio and Antonio Damasio at the Department of Psychology, Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California—this article has countless footnotes to related research, while it presents their research result from magnetic resonance imaging using for stimuli the stories of survivors of the Holocaust.

Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation, by Randy A. Sansone and Lori A. Sansone in  Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2010 November, has 27 footnotes that link to research on gratitude with proven evidence. Found in the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley has this list of seminal studies on gratitude with 21 of the best research articles specifically about gratitude.

Gratitude Research (thepositivtycompany.com) has good summaries of these 3 research articles titled, “An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well being in daily life,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology“, “The impact of a new emotional self-management program on stress, emotions, heart rate variability, DHEA and cortisol,” Integrative Physiological & Behavioral Science. “The undoing effect of positive emotions,” Motivation and Emotion.

Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude is a multiyear project at the Greater Good Science Center, in collaboration with Robert Emmons of the University of California, Davis, that aims to expand the scientific database of gratitude, particularly in areas of human health, personal and relational well-being, and developmental sciences.

Amit Amin (happierhuman.com)’s article, The Science of Gratitude: More Benefits Than Expected; 26 Studies and Counting, has great high-level summaries of more than 20-some prominent research on gratitude.

Do you know of other good research on the topic of gratitude? Please add a comment and we thank you in advance for doing this.

5 Things You Can Always Give Thanks For

No matter how hard your life is and how difficult things get, there are always 5 things you can thank God for, according to Pastor Rick Warren. No, you don’t thank God for the suffering, but you can thank God during the suffering. How can you possibly be thankful even in bad times?

Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church (in Lake Forest, California, and over a dozen other locations) shared this very personal message about how he learned to feel God’s comfort and experience God’s strength during the hardest time in his life.

Watch the video at saddleback.com/watch/media/being-thankful-even-in-bad-times

Scroll down below this image of the sermon notes to see the list of 5 things you can always thank God for.

5 Things I Can Always Thank God For

1. For the grace He’s shown to me.
2. For the plans He has for me.
3. For His promise to never leave me.
4. For the changes He’s making in me.
5. For the home He’s prepared for me.

3 Great Studies about Thanksgiving in the Bible

There are a good number of web pages that have lists of Bible verses about giving thanks, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Those are easy to find by typing in those keywords in a search engine.

But sometimes you’re looking for more, something more substantial, yet not wanting to get weighed down by theological nuances or to scroll through long paragraphs of explanations.

When we came across this blog post from Overview Bible by Jeffrey Kranz—Thankfulness in the Bible: the Top Scriptures on Gratitude—this caught our attention for 3 reasons:

First, this post was written in a format that’s easy to read on the web, in contrast to many other articles that appear to be written for print.

Secondly, this post was meaty with 3 studies in 1. Through his diligent study of the Bible with some help from a Bible software, he published these 3 goodies:

  1. 13 biblical examples of thanksgiving
  2. Four things the Bible tells us to be thankful for
  3. The top books of the Bible on thankfulness

Third, this post has the results from a technology-powered study of thanks and giving thanks throughout the entire Bible, book by book. This chart presents the ratio of how many mentions of thanks or thanksgiving appearing in each book of the Bible:

(This chart will make a lot more sense when you click over to read about the background for how he created it, similarly to how he had done with a previous study to surface the Bible books with the most commands and instructions.)

Thank you, Jeffrey, for your diligent work in crafting and sharing these 3 valuable Bible studies!

And thank you for clicking over to read the blog post, Thankfulness in the Bible: the Top Scriptures on Gratitude.

In the Beginning of Thanksgiving.Bible

This website Thanksgiving.Bible was initially launched on the weekend before Thanksgiving 2015 as a virtual hackathon, to feature the creativity of God’s people in expressing thanks through a website.

Probably due to the short notice of the announcement, we did not receive enough entries to give thanks together through Thanksgiving.Bible. How short of a notice? The hackathon was announced at the .BIBLE blog on November 20 and the entries were due by November 22, 2015. Can you say spontaneously fast?

At that time, the .BIBLE top-level domain had not yet launched to the general public; that didn’t happen until March 2016. This meant that winning the rights for using a .BIBLE domain name like Thanksgiving.Bible was an exclusive and special opportunity. This would’ve been great for the first mover, early adapter, and innovator.

Since that time, we have pivoted and turned this website into a curated collection for all things Bible that helps to make Thanksgiving memorable and meaningful.