Eating healthy and losing weight remain the most common NY resolutions. It is no secret, adopting healthy eating habits is a struggle for many. And how often do you hear people say "I am eating my feelings"?
There is abundant research showing positive psychology interventions offer significant benefits for our well-being and health. However, little research has been done to investigate the impact of a gratitude-based intervention on healthy eating habits. And this is exactly what Fritz and colleagues wanted to explore. More specifically they were interested if gratitude practice affects healthy eating habits in teens and young adults. Previous research of gratitude has been focused on adult populations, and this time the researches chose to focus on teens and young adults.
Study 1 was designed as a 2-week online study, involving undergraduate students. The students were divided into 3 groups - group 1 with intervention to spend 8 min engaging in writing gratitude letter to someone else, group 2 intervention was to engage into 8 min of gratitude to self (identifying what they appreciate about themselves) and group 3 was a control group where they spent 8 min creating a list of activities done over a 1 week period toward their healthy goal. The study findings amongst three groups showed that gratitude predicted healthier eating behavior over time.
The 2nd study focused on 9th and 10th-grade high school students. This was a 4-week study with 3 months follow up. Students were randomized into group 1 (gratitude intervention) and group 2 (control group). The gratitude intervention group wrote letters of thanks to someone who has helped them for 5 min each week. In the control group, students were asked to list their daily activities (no gratitude intervention).
What study showed is the high school students who expressed gratitude reported healthier eating over 4-week intervention and this effect remained marginally significant at the 3-month follow-up. Furthermore, the investigators noted gratitude intervention students experienced less negative emotions.
You can click here for further details about this investigation.
What I find incredibly insightful after reading this study is that these benefits are obtained when gratitude is practiced for 5-8 min weekly ~ what kind of benefits would you be able to reap with daily practice?
If open to creating more good or great in your life, here is our FREE PDF 5 Key to Beginner Gratitude Practice
And we leave you with this quote by the famous motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar.