11/12/2013 07:49 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Get a Gratitude Practice (VIDEO)

Who doesn't want to strengthen their immune system? Who doesn't want to sleep better and deeper at night? Who doesn't want to awaken with more ease and less grogginess? Who doesn't want to improve their blood pressure? Who doesn't want to feel less lonely, more connected and at ease in the world? A gratitude practice can give you all of that and more. Don't have a gratitude practice? It's not complicated. I'm happy to help you get started.

The science on gratitude practice is here, and also here. (There is no lack of evidence for the beneficial outcome of gaining a gratitude practice.) And the studies continue -- check it out here.

Here are several fascinating gratitude studies, motivational in practicing gratitude:

Algoe, S. B. (in press). Find, Remind, and Bind: The Functions of Gratitude in Everyday Relationships. Social and Personality Psychology Compass.

Posits that gratitude is an evolutionarily developed emotion which strengthens our relationships with our partners.

Algoe, S. B., Gable, S. L. & Maisel, N. C. (2010). It's the Little Things: Everyday Gratitude as a Booster Shot for Romantic Relationships. Personal Relationships, 17: 217-233.

Higher levels of gratitude after receiving thoughtful benefits (e.g. gifts, favors, etc.) predicted higher relationship connection and satisfaction.

Bartlett, M.Y., & DeSteno, D. (2006). Gratitude and Prosocial Behavior: Helping When It Costs You. Psychological Science, 17(4), 319-325.

Finds that feeling gratitude produces kind and helpful behavior, even when that behavior is costly to the individual actor.

Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.

Examines the effect of a grateful outlook on one's well-being through three different studies involving the use of participants recording their moods and experiences with gratitude.

Friasa, A., Watkins, P.C., Webbera, A.C., Frosh, J.J. (2011). Death and Gratitude: Death Reflection Enhances Gratitude. Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(2), 154-162.

This study found that people become more grateful for what they have in life when they recognize that none of it was inevitable and all of it is temporary -- in other words, when they recognize their own mortality. Visualizing their own deaths "in a vivid and specific way" boosted people's levels of gratitude significantly.

Froh, J. J., et al. (2011). Measuring Gratitude in Youth: Assessing the Psychometric Properties of Adult Gratitude Scales in Children and Adolescents. Psychological Assessment, 23(2), 311-324.

An empirical investigation on the validity of existing gratitude scales with youth as opposed to adults.

Froh, J. J., Kashdan, T. B., Ozimkowski, K. M., & Miller, N. (2009). Who Benefits The Most from a Gratitude Intervention in Children and Adolescents? Examining Positive Affect as a Moderator. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 408-422.

Do some benefit more from gratitude than others? This study finds that children with lower positive affect levels are impacted more from gratitude interventions than those whose levels are higher.

Froh, J. J., Sefick, W. J., & Emmons, R. A. (2008). Counting Blessings in Early Adolescents: An Experimental Study of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being. Journal of School Psychology, 46(2), 213-233.

Early adolescents' subjective well-being is studied when they are encouraged to have more grateful outlooks on life.

Gordon, A. M., Impett, E. A., Kogan, A., Oveis, C., & Keltner, D. (in press). To Have and to Hold: Gratitude Promotes Relationship Maintenance in Intimate Bonds. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, doi: 10.1037/a0028723

Three studies on appreciation in relationships provides evidence that gratitude is important for the successful maintenance of intimate bonds.

McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J-A. (2002). The Grateful Disposition: A Conceptual and Empirical Topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(1), 112-127.

Four studies examine the correlates of the disposition towards gratitude, finding that self and observer ratings of a grateful disposition are associated with well-being, prosocial behaviors and spirituality.

McCullough, M. E., Kimeldorf, M. B., & Cohen, A. D. (2008). An Adaptation for Altruism? The Social Causes, Social Effects, and Social Evolution of Gratitude. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(4), 281-285.

Provides a look at what gratitude is, where it comes from both socially and evolutionarily, and its effects on others.

Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). How to Increase and Sustain Positive Emotion: The Effects of Expressing Gratitude and Visualizing Best Possible Selves. Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(2), 73-82.

Regularly practicing counting one's blessings and visualizing best possible selves are shown to raise and maintain positive mood.

Watkins, P. C., Woodward, K., Stone, T., & Kolts, R. L. (2003). Gratitude and Happiness: Development of a Measure of Gratitude and Relationships with Subjective Well-Being. Social Behavior and Personality, 31, 431-452.

Evaluated the reliability of the Gratitude Resentment and Appreciation Test (GRAT), finding it to have internal consistency and temporal stability, then used GRAT to find the importance of gratitude to subjective well-being.

Wood, A. M., et al. (2008). A Social-Cognitive Model of Trait and State Levels of Gratitude. Emotion, 8, 281-290.

Three studies test a new model of gratitude which looks at the link between state and trait gratitude, finding benefit appraisals to play a critical role in this link.

Wood, A. M., et al. (2009). Gratitude Influences Sleep through the Mechanism of Pre-Sleep Cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 66(1), 43-48.

This study finds that gratitude predicts greater subjective sleep quality and sleep duration, and less sleep latency and daytime dysfunction.

Wood, A. M., et al. (2010). Gratitude and Well-Being: A Review and Theoretical Integration. Clinical Psychology Review, doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.005.

Presents a new model of gratitude incorporating both gratitude that arises following help from others and habitual appreciations of the positive aspects of life.