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Why Matthew McConaughey Believes In The Science Of Gratitude

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MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY
Matthew McConaughey accepts the award for best actor in a leading role for "Dallas Buyers Club" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP) | Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
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It's anything but unusual to hear award-winning actors thank God, their families and their film crews when they stand behind that Oscar podium, award in hand. But in his Oscar acceptance speech for Best Actor last night, Matthew McConaughey took his thanks in a more unexpected direction. The Dallas Buyers Club star went so far as to say, “He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates."

McConaughey's emotional speech made headlines across the Internet today, being described by different media outlets as both the best and worst speech of the night. New York Magazine wrote, "dude got emotional, he got religious, he got downright philosophical."

But religion aside, it’s tough to deny the power of gratitude when an extensive body of research supports its health and well-being benefits. Taking a moment to be thankful for the good things in life can help you manage stress, sleep better, and maintain a healthy heart and immune system. Researchers at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley have even commissioned a three-year project, Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude, to dig deeper into the health benefits behind the art of appreciation.