The Science of Gratitude

science of gratitude

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At SportFuel, we appreciate the ability to create new meaning through tradition, and we favor the gratitude component of Thanksgiving. Being grateful not only makes us feel good in the moment, but having a regular practice has been shown to actually make us happier and more productive.



Nearly a decade ago, Shawn Achor gave a great TED talk in which he reviewed research outcomes on happiness, productivity, and success. To this day, this is Alex’s (SportFuel Senior Nutritionist) favorite TED talk. Shortly after Alex listened to Shawn’s humorous and witty presentation, she and a friend began to practice his top recommendation—to write down 3 unique things per day that they are grateful for.



Doing this simple task for just a few weeks has been proven to give a “Happiness Advantage”. In Shawn Achor’s words, this means that “your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral, or stressed.” Alex and her friend ended up writing their 3 pieces of daily gratitude in a shared Google spreadsheet for years, and long story short, they said it was awesome!


The best thing this practice did for Alex was create a mindset where she sought out the positive in everything. She realized how much gratitude she felt every day for so many things, and while it has now been a couple of years since she has written down her gratitude on a daily basis, the mindset habit has stuck with her to this very day.


A shift in mindset goes a long way, especially when talking about performance. Here is an excerpt from one of our favorite books, Peak, by Dr. Marc Bubbs:

“Emotions drive your behavior, your decision-making, and your relationships (whether you realize it or not). Fail to channel them in the right direction and not only will your performance plummet, so will your health…Sport is emotional…It’s not about suppressing your emotions, but rather channeling them to support your goal.”

Incorporating the practice of writing down three things you are grateful for each day is a way to cultivate this positive mindset, which will help reduce stress and help channel your emotions in a way that brings you closer to your goals. 

Here are 3 things SportFuel® is grateful for:

1. For the support from our clients, friends, family, and communities as we have adapted to change and expanded further into the virtual realm over the past year to serve you better and be a trusted resource for all things performance nutrition. 


2. For all organizations and individuals across all sectors who have helped promote healing and work towards a positive push for change throughout the past year as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, the anti-racism movements, and healing Mother Earth. And for all those who will continue to work together to do this great work as it is so deeply needed to make our world a unified place. 


3. For our health, the health of our loved ones, and for our continued progress in fostering connections to all people that will move us all toward a healthy evolution of humanity and the planet.

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