What Is Gratitude?
Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that gratitude has two key components, which he describes in a Greater Good essay, “Why Gratitude Is Good.”
“First,” he writes, “it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.” I believe in the good of all until they prove me wrong!
In the second part of gratitude, he explains, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”
Emmons and other researchers see the social dimension as being especially important to gratitude. “I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion,“ writes Emmons, “because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”
Because gratitude encourages us not only to appreciate gifts but also to repay them (or pay them forward), the sociologist Georg Simmel called it “the moral memory of mankind.” This is how gratitude may have evolved: by strengthening bonds between members of the same species who mutually helped each other out. Shoutout to my friend's son who lost his life at 19 years young, "#FallForward" has become paying it forward and saving the planet by living green.
I write about gratitude because I am thankful as its the key of a full life. I have enough, and when I am thankful for what I have, I end up with more! When I concentrate on what I don't have, it is never enough and old ugly friends like jealousy and depression rear their heads. I write about happiness and inner peace because I know sorrow and chaos very well. My new best friends are yoga, meditation, prayer, thanks, discovery, affirmations and positive algorithms of my life!
ARTICLES FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
- What Happens When Older Adults Take a Class on Gratitude?BY SARA OREM | JANUARY 4, 2018
An instructor shares her experience teaching older adults the science (and practice) of gratitude.
- Why a Grateful Brain Is a Giving OneBY CHRISTINA KARNS | DECEMBER 19, 2017
The neural connection between gratitude and altruism is very deep, suggests new research.
- How to Overcome the Biggest Obstacle to GratitudeBY TOM GILOVICH | DECEMBER 12, 2017
We all take good things for granted, but we can take steps to keep gratitude alive.
- How Gratitude Helps Your Friendships GrowBY ERIC PEDERSEN, DEBRA LIEBERMAN | DECEMBER 6, 2017