But it’s not just your friends who will reap the benefits of your gratitude. This 2006 study by Monica Y. Bartlett and David DeSteno at Northeastern University shows that the compassion inspired by gratitude reaches outside a person’s social circle, extending to strangers.
“If you’re feeling gratitude, you’re more likely not only to help a previous benefactor, but also to help anyone who asks,” Dr. DeSteno says. “You’re also more likely to trust others and to make financial decisions that benefit everyone as opposed to benefitting yourself at the expense of others.”
And you’ll feel great doing it! Research shows that the act of giving back is as pleasurable, if not more so, as the experience of receiving, and volunteering can be linked to greater mental health, better immunity, and even longer life spans.