Gratitude Gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. In contrast to the positive feeling of gratitude, the feeling of indebtedness is a negative reaction to a favor (Tsang, 2006a; Watkins, Scheer, Ovnicek, & Kolts, 2006). Even though our reactions to favors might not always be positive, researchers have found that people express gratitude often. Psychological research has demonstrated that individuals are more likely to experience gratitude Gratitude may also serve to reinforce future prosocial behavior in benefactors.
For example, Carey and colleagues (Carey, Clicque, Leighton, & Milton, 1976) found that customers of a jewelry store who were called and thanked showed a subsequent 70% increase in purchases. In comparison, customers who were thanked and told about a sale showed only a 30% increase in purchases, and customers who were not called at all did not show an increase. Rind and Bordia (1995) found that restaurant patrons gave bigger tips when their servers wrote “Thank you” on their checks.Order now
Research has also suggested that feelings of gratitude may be beneficial to subjective emotional well-being (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). For example, Watkins and colleagues (Watkins et al. , 2003) had participants test a number of different gratitude exercises, such as thinking about a living person for whom they were grateful, writing about someone for whom they were grateful, and writing a letter to deliver to someone for whom they were grateful. Participants in the control condition were asked to describe their living room.
Participants who engaged in a gratitude exercise showed increases in their experiences of positive emotion immediately after the exercise, and this effect was strongest for participants who were asked to think about a person for whom they were grateful. Participants who had grateful personalities to begin with showed the greatest benefit from these gratitude exercises. In people who are grateful in general, life events have little influence on experienced gratitude (McCullough, Tsang & Emmons, 2004). Although gratitude is something that anyone can experience, some people seem to feel grateful more often than others.
People who tend to experience gratitude more frequently than do others also tend to be happier, more helpful and forgiving, and less depressed than their less grateful counterparts (Kashdan, Uswatte, & Julian, 2006; McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002; Watkins, Woodward, Characteristics of a Grateful Life A life of gratitude is composed of three parts that combine to make a whole. 1. A sense of purpose in our lives 2. An appreciation for the lives of those around us 3. A willingness to take action to show the gratitude we feel Breaking the word down a bit further thanks to the ever-convenient Dictionary. om, gratitude means: • an appreciative attitude for what one has received • a warm or deep appreciation of personal kindness • a disposition to express gratefulness by giving thanks I like all three of these definitions for different reasons. I think gratitude also relates to a full life spent in awareness of all the good things that surround us. Gratitude is expressed through big and small things. Living a balanced life of gratitude requires that our “big rocks” be well established. Most importantly, our family and other close relationships need to be in order.
And if we don’t love all aspects of our work, we have to enjoy at least most of them and feel like we are contributing to something greater than ourselves. Gratitude is not all about money, but it does include money. The way we handle our money reflects how we feel about other people and our lives in general. Therefore, an important part of living gratefully usually includes a commitment to regularly help others with our financial resources The process of outwardly showing more gratitude (by investing your money in others’ lives) will create an inward feeling of gratefulness.
It’s a win-win relationship. Gratitude must be regularly cultivated, even when times are hard. If you spend time every day expressing gratitude in a way that is meaningful to you (more on that in a minute), it will quickly become an integral part of your life. Like any habit, the more we practice it, the more natural it becomes. We must purposefully create a life of gratitude if we want to be fully alive. We can cultivate gratitude through prayer, meditation, writing, and other expressions of art. We can also cultivate gratitude in the way we interact with others.