In the labyrinth of human emotions, two positive sensations work together to enhance our psychological well-being: gratitude and happiness. The practice of gratitude has long since left the borders of dinner tables and holiday toasts to become an integral focus within positive psychology. But does saying ‘thank you’ correlate with feeling happier? This article explores the compelling relationship between gratitude and happiness and how nurturing one can positively affect the other.

Numerous studies have affirmed that gratitude goes beyond good manners—it boosts our psychological health. By acknowledging the goodness in our lives and recognizing that some sources of this goodness lie outside ourselves, we pave the way for appreciation and, subsequently, increased levels of happiness. In this article, Dr. Eric Kim, UBC, unpacks the layers of this relationship through a deep dive into the marriage of gratitude and happiness in psychology.

Gratitude Realigns Our Focus

In a world teeming with distractions and challenges, Eric Kim, UBC, says gratitude can shift our attention from what’s missing to what’s present. By acknowledging and appreciating the blessings and abundance around us, we can cultivate a more positive outlook on life. This realignment of focus from deficit to abundance encourages a greater sense of contentment and fulfillment, ultimately contributing to our overall happiness and well-being.

The Birth Of Positive Emotions

When you consciously count your blessings, you will likely observe a delightful surge of positive emotions, such as pure joy, immense pride, and deep contentment. The practice of gratitude nurtures and cultivates these beautiful positive emotions, which, in turn, become the essence and foundation of true and lasting happiness.

The Psychological Buffer Against Stress

Life throws unexpected curveballs that can leave anyone feeling distraught and overwhelmed. However, cultivating gratitude can be a powerful psychological buffer, helping us navigate challenging times. Research shows that individuals who regularly express gratitude experience fewer physical and psychological stress symptoms and tend to have higher levels of happiness and overall well-being. By embracing gratitude, we can find solace and strength despite life’s uncertainties and discover a deeper appreciation for the moments that bring us joy.

Fostering Relationships

Saying ‘thank you’ casts you in a good light and fortifies relationships by acknowledging and appreciating others. Who doesn’t like being genuinely appreciated for their efforts? Such expressions of gratitude have the power to deepen feelings of connection and satisfaction in relationships, fostering an environment where happiness can truly flourish. When we take the time to acknowledge and express our gratitude, we create a positive feedback loop that strengthens the bonds between us and those we interact with. In turn, this fosters a sense of belonging and mutual support, enhancing the overall quality of our relationships.

Enhancing Self-Esteem

People who practice gratitude are less likely to compare themselves negatively to others. By genuinely appreciating their own value and acknowledging the contributions of others, they create a positive mindset that reduces the toxic emotions that can erode self-esteem, such as envy, frustration, and regret. This leads to a stronger sense of self-worth and an elevated level of happiness as they cultivate a deeper understanding of their strengths and the interconnectedness of individuals in their lives. By nurturing gratitude, individuals can experience a profound shift in perspective and embrace a more fulfilling and contented way of living.

Practical Ways To Cultivate Gratitude

Practicing gratitude isn’t simply about saying ‘thanks.’ It involves a conscious and deliberate choice to focus on life’s positives. Here are ways you can foster this beneficial habit:

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal: Regularly jot down things you’re thankful for. The act of writing reinforces these feelings.
  2. Reflect on Your Day: Each night, recall at least three things that went well during the day, which may trigger the cool-down effect of positive emotions.
  3. Express Gratitude to Others: Don’t just feel it—say it. Articulate your appreciation to people around you.
  4. Meditate: Meditation on the things you’re grateful for can further engrain the emotion in your daily life.
  5. Challenge Yourself to Find the Hidden Blessings: Difficult situations often teach us something valuable. Try to find and appreciate these hidden lessons.

The Cumulative Impact Of Gratitude On Happiness

Gratitude is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process—a habit that needs intimacy with time to grow firm roots. The more you practice it, the more its fibers intertwine with happiness, paving the way for a more sustained and profound well-being.


No one is born with limitless happiness, but everyone is gifted with the opportunity to cultivate it—gratitude is a powerful seed in this garden of joy. There’s an undeniable synchrony between gratitude and happiness, each strengthening the other. Eric Kim, UBC, encourages inviting gratitude into your daily routine and watching as the flowers of happiness bloom more brightly and persistently in the garden of your life. Remember, as you nurture a grateful perspective, happiness becomes not just a fleeting guest but a lifelong companion on your journey toward psychological well-being. So, embark on this journey with dedication and relish the profound impact that gratitude will etch onto the canvas of your happiness.