Nautilus

The Science of Gratitude

I conducted an early Thanksgiving experiment on myself. I was in Reykjavik, Iceland, on a lecture trip. My morning was free, and I took it to write two pages about how lucky I am—something, I’m embarrassed to say, that I had never done before. Here is one thing I wrote: “I’m looking out at a sky that Vikings would have seen. I get to do this—me.” Writing it all down felt very good.

I didn’t know it then, but in making such a list, I was engaging in a scientifically based

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