The American Holiday of Thanksgiving is a good time to focus on gratitude. Gratitude is a common human emotion and a virtue among adherents of many religions.
Christians are encouraged to count their blessings and offer thanks each day.
In psychology, gratitude is a positive emotion expressed toward those who have given some gift or benefit. For people of faith, gifts ultimately come from God.
It’s no surprise that there is a positive correlation between religiosity or spirituality and gratitude.
The Grateful Living
What’s true about grateful people compared to those who are low on gratefulness?
THE BIG 12 OF GRATITUDE
1. Higher positive feelings
2. Higher life satisfaction
3. More vitality
4. More optimism
5. More generous
6. More helpful
7. More likely to attend religious services
8. More likely to practice their faith
9. Less interested in material goods
10. Less likely to judge success in terms of possessions
11. Less envious of others
12. More likely to share
Gratitude journals work. People who kept a weekly gratitude journal felt better about their lives, were more optimistic, reported fewer physical symptoms and exercise more than those in other groups who recorded hassles or neutral life events.
Making a gratitude list helps personal goal attainment.
Young adults who performed daily gratitude exercises had increased alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to people in other research groups—people who focused on hassles or comparing themselves to others who had less.
Writing letters of gratitude increased happiness and life satisfaction and decreased depressive symptoms.
A four-week gratitude program resulted in higher life satisfaction and self-esteem compared to people in a control condition.
Both gratitude and forgiveness were linked to well-being in a sample of people receiving psychotherapy.
Women appear to gain more from gratitude than men do. Compared to women, men were less likely to feel and express gratitude. Men were more critical when evaluating gratitude and overall benefited less than women did.
Women who were breast cancer patients benefited from gratitude when they were open to others.
Gratitude promotes high-quality relationships.
Gratitude promotes high-quality relationships.
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Toepfer, S.M., Cichy, K., & Peters, P. (2012). Letters of gratitude: Further evidence for author benefits. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13, 187-201. DOI: 10.1007/s10902-011-9257-7
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