The Skinny on Gratitude: Part 2
"What Kind of Gratitude Is This?" It Depends on Its When and How
Yesterday, I wrote about some of the research examining gratitude. In addition, I included a gratitude quiz developed by The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. I hope you took the quiz and will let it guide you as you think about the role of gratitude in your life. If you missed it, here's the link to the RosieCentral blog article and the Gratitude Quiz.:
Three Categories of Gratitude
What is gratitude? Is it with us all the time? Can we control it? Do some of us have more of it than others? Scientists believe there are three categories of gratitude—
Affect — tendency to have a grateful disposition
Emotion — temporary feeling after receiving a kindness or gift
Mood — fluctuating throughout the day based on small experiences
Most research has focused on #1 and #2. Yesterday, we mentioned that gratitude is an evolutionary trait and is now an integral part of what it means to be human. Gratitude has helped us survives as a species. Biologically, gratitude to one degree or another, is part of who we are.
Gratitude Requires Two Steps
One of the leading gratitude researchers is Robert Emmons. Emmons, with his colleague Michael McCullough define gratitude as a two-step process:
1) “recognizing that one has obtained a positive outcome” and 2) “recognizing that there is an external source for this positive outcome.”
If you would like to learn more about the scientific findings, below is a link to a research review. Even a quick scan of the article will convince you of the importance of gratitude in all lives.
And Here Are Some of the Findings from Gratitude Research
Expressing gratitude results in a better overall quality of life;
Expressing gratitude leads to more positive emotions;
Expressing gratitude leads to improved sleep quality;
Expressing gratitude results in healthy social activity;
Expressing gratitude can lower symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression;
Expressing gratitude results in a healthier resting heart rate;
Expressing gratitude enhances heart and immune function;
Expressing gratitude specifically can lower blood pressure; and
Expressing gratitude, especially in high levels, results in fewer physical symptoms than those who rarely express gratitude.
I'm Convinced and Want the Benefits of Gratitude.
What Do I Need to Do?
Three Mechanisms to Increase Gratitude in Your Life
Throughout November, our RosieCentral blog has focused exclusively on giving thanks and gratitude. We've looked at the concept from multiple perspectives. You'll find ideas in each blog for what you can do to include gratitude in your life. And on Friday (November 25), we're going to look at three mechanisms -- sometimes called interventions -- you can use too increase gratitude in your life. Then on the following Monday (November 28), we'll begin three days of activities and prompts to help you have more gratitude.