Print this page Share

Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity

ISBN: 978-1-118-13129-9
208 pages
April 2013, Jossey-Bass
Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity (1118131290) cover image


A purposeful guide for cultivating gratitude as a way of life

Recent dramatic advances in our understanding of gratitude have changed the question from "does gratitude work?" to "how do we get more of it?" This book explores evidence-based practices in a compelling and accessible way and provides a step-by-step guide to cultivating gratitude in their lives. Gratitude Works! also shows how religious, philosophical, and spiritual traditions validate the greatest insights of science about gratitude.

  • New book from Robert Emmons the bestselling author of Thanks
  • Filled with practical tips for fostering gratitude as a way of life
  • Includes scientific research as well as religious and philosophical insights to show how gratitude can work in our lives

From Robert Emmons, the bestselling author of Thanks, comes a resource for cultivating a life of gratitude practices.

See More

Table of Contents

Preface v

Acknowledgments xi

1 The Challenge of Gratitude 1

2 Journaling for Gratitude 19

3 Beyond the Journal: Gratitude Letters and Visits 49

4 Growing Gratitude Through Spiritual Disciplines 75

5 The Biggest Obstacle to Gratitude—and Its Remedy 105

6 Gratitude, Suffering, and Redemption 131

7 The Twenty-One-Day Gratitude Challenge 159

Notes 173

Additional Readings 185

About the Author 186

Index 188

See More

Author Information

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis. He is past president of the American Psychological Association's Division 36, The Psychology of Religion. Emmons is founding editor and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.

See More


"Gratitude Works! is a must read! Robert Emmons, the world's leading gratitude researcher, offers a science-based prescription for transforming our lives personally and professionally through the power of gratitude. Gratitude Works! is one of those books you will want to share with all the people you care about. It is a gift to us all."—David J. Pollay, author of The Law of the Garbage Truck: How to Stop People from Dumping on You

"Everyone on this planet has one common wish: to be happy. When I allowed gratitude to enter my everyday life, I found my happiness and my performance skyrocketed. I always enjoy listening to Dr. Emmons talk about this amazing topic. Read this book!"—Ed Tseng, author of Game. Set. Life. - Peak Performance for Sports and Life

See More

Press Release

March 05, 2013
Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity

Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity

San Francisco, CA - Imagine if you could lose weight just by being happy? Become able to forgive easier? Boost your self-esteem? Research shows that by being grateful, you can obtain all of these things. Gratitude takes us outside our comfort zone so we can see ourselves as part of a larger, complicated system full of reciprocal sustaining relationships. It helps you not only feel good, but inspire you to do good.

Dr Robert Emmons is a research professor at the University of California, Davis and expert on the scientifically-measured benefits of gratitude. In addition to “Gratitude Works!,” he is the author of four books. Recent news headlines show the happiness industry is alive and flourishing in the United States and Emmons has research on gratitude from more than a decade to back that up.

In his new book, “Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity,” Emmons shares that becoming more grateful requires you to train your mind and training requires practice. Researchers at the University of Minnesota estimated the heritability of gratitude at about 40 percent so mental discipline is mandatory because gratitude is not an easy virtue to accomplish, but the outcome is worth the effort. He found that gratitude heals, energizes and transforms lives in countless ways and is a key link between receiving and giving. 

A guidebook for how to obtain these virtues, “Gratitude Works!,” weaves together Emmons’ wisdom with his own research, as well as stories of others who possess the qualities of gratitude, to set individuals on the path to gratefulness. In Emmons’ research, he found when people report feeling grateful, thankful and appreciative in their daily lives, they also feel more loving, forgiving, joyful and enthusiastic. Also, helpfulness, optimism, trustworthiness and an outgoing personality are directly correlated with gratefulness.

Gratitude journaling was famously publicized by Oprah Winfrey in the late 1990s but now there is research evidence of what works and what does not. Emmons found that people who keep gratitude journals are 25 percent happier, they sleep one-half hour more per evening and they exercise 33 percent more each week compared to those who don’t keep journals. Gratitude impacts every aspect of life, including spending. Restaurant bills on which the server writes “thank you” produce tips that are as much as 11 percent higher than do bills without an expression of gratitude.

See More
Back to Top