ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Cane Use May Cut Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
CANCER
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
CAREGIVING
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain
Fatty Acid in Olive Oil Wards Off Hunger
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West
Smog Tougher on the Obese
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
FITNESS
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
As Temperature Plummets, It's Still Safe to Exercise
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
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A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All

For those feeling dissatisfied with a friend or partner, saying "thank you" may improve your attitude about the relationship, new study findings suggest.

It turns out that expressed gratitude isn't just good for the recipient. It strengthens the relationship by causing the person expressing thanks to feel more responsible for their partner's welfare.

While previous research on gratitude has found that expressions of thanks strengthen a relationship by increasing satisfaction with it, the new research, published online recently in Psychological Science, looked at the effect of expressed gratitude on what psychologists call "communal strength" -- the degree of responsibility one partner or friend feels for another.

Gratitude, when expressed, boosted that communal strength, according to the study's lead author, Nathaniel Lambert, a research associate at Florida State University in Tallahassee. The finding makes sense because "when you express gratitude to someone, you are focusing on the good things that person has done for you," he said. "It makes you see them in a more positive light and helps you to focus in on their good traits."

Lambert and his research team tested the idea that expressing gratitude helps strengthen relationships in this way by doing three different studies.

In one study group, 137 college students completed a survey regarding how often they expressed gratitude to a friend or partner. Results showed that gratitude was positively linked with the person's perception of this "communal" strength.

In another study, involving 218 college students, expressing gratitude predicted boosts in the expresser's perception of the relationship's strength over time.

In a third study group, 75 men and women were randomly assigned to one of four groups. Over a three-week period, one group expressed gratitude to a friend; another thought grateful thoughts about a friend, while a third thought about daily activities and a fourth had positive interactions with a friend.

Those who expressed gratitude reported more relationship strength at the study's end than did those in the other groups.

"The person doing the thanking comes to perceive the relationship as more communal, to see the person more worthwhile to sacrifice for, to go the extra mile to help out," Lambert said.

Although the studies only looked at the people expressing gratitude, Lambert speculated that "those who are being thanked will often feel an urge to reciprocate. They will want to express their gratitude back. It can become kind of an upward spiral."

A simple "thank you" might be just what a relationship that's turning sour needs, he said. "In relationships today, often people get mired down into what the person isn't doing for them. That's one of the neat things about gratitude. It potentially can change the trajectory from a negative focus to more of a positive outlook on the relationship."

The new study is "an important extension of previous research," said Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California Davis, a long-time gratitude researcher and author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.

To his knowledge, Emmons said, "this is the first research study that has examined expressed gratitude in the context of an ongoing, close relationship."

The researchers have documented an "easy and often overlooked way to strengthen relationships," he said. "Gratitude does knit together relationships and bind people into networks of reciprocal obligations."

One weakness of the study, he said, is that the participants were college students, but that is typical of much research. More women than men participated, and that could affect results, Emmons said. Only 15 of the 75 people in the third study, for instance, were men.

"Studies have shown that men are more 'gratitude-challenged,'" he added.

Even so, those who want to develop the gratitude habit can do so by becoming "more vocal about gratitude ... by expressing it more regularly," Emmons said. "Even if one does not feel it, research strongly demonstrates that going through the motions can lead to the emotion."

SOURCES: Nathaniel M. Lambert, Ph.D. candidate, research associate, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.; Robert Emmons, Ph.D., professor, psychology, University of California, Davis, author, Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier; March 5, 2010, Psychological Science, online Published on: April 11, 2010