Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gratitude

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, meaning grace, graciousness, or gratefulness.

Typically gratitude originates from the perception of a positive personal outcome, not necessarily deserved or earned, that is due to the actions of another person.

Gratitude interventions have been evaluated favourably in studies. Writing down up to five things major or minor for which one is grateful or thankful for, on a daily or even weekly basis has been shown to increase the sense of well being in study participants.

Putting aside a minute or two everyday to express gratitude can have far reaching consequences. Experiences of gratitude have been associated with happiness, positive emotions and well being. Grateful people are less depressed, less stressed, have more positive traits and are more satisfied with their lives and social relationships.

To avoid habituation, Sonja Lyubomirsky suggests that the exercise be done on a weekly basis. Tal Ben-Shahar says that to ingrain it, the exercise be done daily and to maintain freshness one should make a conscious effort to diversify the elements. Independent studies have shown both methods to be effective.

One can practice the exercise with children by asking them at night what was fun for them during the whole day.

Reference:
Emmons RA, McCullough ME. Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003;84:377-89. [Abstract] [Full text]

5 comments:

karim said...

Good one on gratitude and it helps a lot.

Thanks,
Karim - Mind Power

Mridula said...

Maybe I can do a post one day on what I should feel particularly blessed about.

V S said...

Karim: Thank you.

Mridula: That is a good idea. The experts suggest that we ought to make it a habit.

VSB said...

I think gratitude is the prayer to which the universe responds instantly.

VS said...

VSB thats a novel perspective.