Patience — it’s good, but notoriously hard, to have. Now, a new study shows a potential way to increase it: Have gratitude.
Published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers from Northeastern University, the University of California, Riverside, and Harvard University found that feelings of gratitude are associated with increased patience in the context of a test where waiting leads to a greater monetary reward.
“Showing that emotion can foster self-control and discovering a way to reduce impatience with a simple gratitude exercise opens up tremendous possibilities for reducing a wide range of societal ills from impulse buying and insufficient saving to obesity and smoking,” study researcher Ye Li, an assistant professor in the School of Business Administration at the University of California, Riverside, said in a statement.
In the study, 75 study participants were asked to write down the details of an event that made them feel happy, an event that made them feel grateful, or the events of a typical day. They were also asked to indicate on a five-point scale how happy or grateful they felt at the current time.