Gratitude and optimism can boost your physical and mental health.

Be grateful for the things you have, it could improve your physical and mental health according to a brand new global study that relies on the data from cell phones.

People who were more content had lower blood pressure, a lower heart rate, and had a higher appreciation for others. The study also showed that optimism is linked to better sleep quality, positive expectations and reflections.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and University of California, San Francisco studied these traits using a cell phone app called MyBPLab with sensors embedded which measured blood pressure and heart rates of 4,825 participants from around the world , including the U.S., Australia, India and Hong Kong. Previous studies on gratitude and optimism required brain scans or laboratory visits to collect data.

The optic sensors send different light waves through the tissues to detect changes in blood volume. an algorithm within the phone is used to calculate blood pressure. The user calibrates the sensor against an external arm cuff to obtain accurate blood pressure levels.

From March 15, 2019 until December 8, 2020, respondents were asked about their stress levels, health habits (sleep and exercise, daily expectations, and thoughts) three times per day. They rated 12 items such as “I have so much in my life to be grateful for” and “In uncertain times, I generally hope for the best.”

These findings revealed that gratitude and optimism are positive psychological dispositions that can lead to positive outcomes. The study showed optimism helped to reduce negative aspects of the day, while gratitude highlighted the positive aspects of the day.

Gratitude also orients people toward others and the advantages they have given to them, while optimism could lead people to themselves , as they think about their own personal future.”

Amie Gordon, study’s co-author and assistant professor in U-M’s Department of Psychology

Researchers also found that optimism did not correlate with positive events and forward-looking responses. The study discovered that optimism was predictive of rating of the unpleasantness of the worst day, which is a reaction that is focused on negative events.

David Newman, the study’s principal author and UCSF postdoctoral researcher of psychosis, said that people who are highly optimistic are more likely to believe that the worst part of the day is less painful than those who are less optimistic.

Furthermore optimism was a better predictor of sleep quality and stress intensity and frequency than gratitude.

“Our findings offer significant advances to our understanding of gratitude and optimism , showing that gratitude contributes to highlighting the positive aspects of the day, whereas optimism functions by minimizing negative aspects of the day,” he said.

The study, conducted by UCSF psychiatrist Wendy Berry Mendes, appears in the online publication Emotion.

Journal reference:

Newman, D.B. et. al. (2021). Comparing daily physiological benefits and psychological benefits of gratitude using an online platform. Emotion.

Content Source:

Gemma Wilson

Gemma is a journalism graduate with keen interest in covering business news – specifically startups. She has as a keen eye for technologies and has predicted quite a few successful startups over the last couple of years.

Related Articles