Evidence That It Works
One study discovered that students who were taught to think gratefully by considering the costs, benefits, and intentions behind a kind act were found, in comparison to a control group, to be happier and more grateful, and to show more grateful thinking. They also were more likely to write gratitude letters to PTA members.
Why Does It Matter?
Research suggests that gratitude is good for youth, going hand in hand with greater hope and optimism, higher satisfaction with life, and fewer health complaints. Grateful adolescents also have better relationships, receiving more social support from others and being more kind and helpful in turn.
Like adults, however, students may miss opportunities to express their gratitude. Writing gratitude letters offers them a chance to reflect on the people who have made their life better, and to reach out and connect (or reconnect) with those people.