The Science Behind Gratitude

We can easily forget amongst the hustle and bustle of life to take a few moments to give thanks and express our gratitude to those around us. This time of year is especially known as a season of giving and gratitude where we consciously reflect on all we are thankful for. It is nice to take time to intentionally count our blessings during the holiday season but expressing gratitude and being thankful throughout the year is far better. This is why conveying gratitude and showing how thankful we are for clinical research participants and professionals is highly important to Greater Gift.

Gratitude Defined

Gratitude is more than just saying thank you. In an article published by Positive Psychology Program, they express that gratitude is more than just an action but a “deeper appreciation for someone (or something) which produces longer lasting positivity” and we couldn’t agree more. Harvard Medical School defines gratitude as “a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives… As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.” We have witnessed the longer lasting positive effects from expressing gratitude to clinical trial contributors through our partnering organizations and the connection they make with their participation being much greater than they realize.

Why it Works

When expressing gratitude to someone, the return is generally a positive emotion. When thanking clinical trial contributors for volunteering to advance medicine the exchange is not only positive but embodies a sense of contributing to the greater good. This is the gift of gratitude – it keeps on giving and pays it forward.

Benefits of Gratitude

According to Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine in their book, The Power of Thanks, “gratitude magnifies the spirit and promotes well-being. In good times and bad, authentic appreciation creates perspective, literally stepping back from the distraction of the moment and the affirming something more lasting than passing circumstance.” In their book, they have outlined scientific proven benefits of gratitude and we believe there are 3 that capture the essence of not only gratitude but why Greater Gift celebrates clinical trial contributors.

  1. Grateful people pay it forward. As clinical research professionals, we are grateful for those individuals who volunteer in trials and for that, we can intentionally pay our gratitude forward by saying thank you. Often, the recipient then wants to pay it forward– whether through participating in another trial or telling others what they have done.
  2. Gratitude increases emotional well-being. When expressing gratitude to someone, it not only makes you feel good but makes the person who is on the receiving end feel appreciated. They know their participation matters and makes an immediate impact on the life of another.
  3. Grateful people achieve more. Gratitude gives people the power to keep going. Whether it is participating in a clinical trial or working to develop a new drug, gratefulness increases determination, energy and enthusiasm.

The Power of You

Gratitude starts with each one of us. Saying thank you has the power to go much further than we sometimes realize, and it makes a difference in those around us. I challenge you today to say thank you to five people: your boss, your co-worker or even a clinical trial participant and watch your gratitude magnify.