The Science of Gratitude & 6 Surprising Ways You’re Getting It Wrong


The Mel Robbins Podcast


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Today we are digging into the research on gratitude. Gratitude is a critical life skill, yet most of us are practicing it wrong.

That’s right.

According to the research, there are 4 essential elements of genuine gratitude. Without all 4, you can’t unlock the powerful physiological, neurological, and psychological benefits of genuine gratitude.

For example, if you’re just thinking about what you’re grateful for or writing a list before you go to bed, you’re probably not getting the full impact of its power.

Once you know the 4 steps, you can use genuine gratitude to actively rewire your brain!

Next, we’ll discuss the “Toxic Gratitude Theory” and the 6 ways you probably use gratitude in a backhanded or manipulative way – and don’t even know it!

I’m guilty of all 6 types of toxic gratitude (ouch) and now that I see it, I can stop doing it.

So today, let’s learn how to unlock gratitude and all its profound power. You’ll also learn…

  • The 4 neurotransmitters involved in a science-backed gratitude practice
  • The important difference between being just “thankful” versus genuinely “grateful” and why it matters
  • How using one specific word is critical to building up your resilience
  • What to say to someone who’s going through a really tough time

And because I’m so genuinely grateful for you, I have started rolling out a fun bonus with each episode, Mel Robbins Podcast Bloopers, so listen all the way through for a good laugh!

Xo Mel

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • 6:00: Ever met someone who just makes you feel so loved and grounded?
  • 12:20: What happens in your body when you feel more gratitude?
  • 16:00: What’s the difference between being thankful vs. gratitude?
  • 21:40: Here are the four important elements of genuine gratitude.
  • 25:00: Are you using gratitude in a toxic way? Hear these six types of toxic gratitude.
  • 26:00: Let’s unpack the #1 way we engage in toxic gratitude.
  • 28:10: The #2 type of toxic gratitude is actually resentment in disguise.
  • 29:45: This #3 type will keep you stuck in what’s not working for you.
  • 33:00: We use the 4th type of toxic gratitude to escape uncomfortable emotions.
  • 36:00: Being mentally well means giving yourself the space to feel all emotions.
  • 37:30: Let’s unpack how you use the 5th type when you don’t know what to say.
  • 39:00: And please don’t use this type to downplay your accomplishments.
  • 41:00: This is one of my favorite acceptance speeches ever.
  • 43:00: I looked up the meaning of Judah’s name and couldn’t believe what I found.
  • 46:00: So how do you stay grounded in a chaotic environment? Listen to these tips.

Resources and go deeper:

  • Be sure to check out my friend Judah with Sunshyne + the Foxx here.
  • UC, Berkeley: The science of gratitude.
  • Greater Good Magazine: Why gratitude is good.
  • Big Think: The positive impact of gratitude on mental health.
  • The Washington Post: Gratitude is good for us, so why don’t we show it more?
  • Check out Option B: Facing adversity, building resilience, finding joy.
  • The Washington Post: Time to ditch toxic positivity; it’s ok to not be ok.
  • Forbes: 5 ways to avoid toxic positivity and still be supportive.

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In The Mel Robbins Podcast, Mel takes you behind the scenes in real-time. Every episode is packed with tactical advice, hilarious screwups, compelling conversations, and the tools and inspiration you need to create a better life.