Gratitude: Wikis

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gratitude, thankfulness, or appreciation is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. The experience of gratitude has historically been a focus of several world religions,[1] and has been considered extensively by moral philosophers such as Adam Smith.[2] The systematic study of gratitude within psychology only began around the year 2000, possibly because psychology has traditionally been focused more on understanding distress rather than understanding positive emotions. However, with the advent of the positive psychology movement,[3] gratitude has become a mainstream focus of psychological research. [4] The study of gratitude within psychology has focused on the understanding of the short term experience of the emotion of gratitude (state gratitude), individual differences in how frequently people feel gratitude (trait gratitude), and the relationship between these two aspects.[5][6]

Contents

Gratitude as an Emotion

Gratitude is an emotion that occurs after people receive help, depending on how they interpret the situation. Specifically, gratitude is experienced if people perceive the help they receive as (a) valuable to them, (b) costly to their benefactor, and (c) given by the benefactor with benevolent intentions (rather than ulterior motives). [5][7] When faced with identical situations where they have been given help, different people view the situation very differently in terms of value, cost, and benevolent intentions, and this explains why people feel differing levels of gratitude after they have been helped). [5][8] People who generally experience more gratitude in life habitually interpret help as more costly, more beneficial, and more beneficially intended; and this habitual bias explains why some people feel more gratitude than others.[5]

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Gratitude and indebtedness

Gratitude is not the same as indebtedness. While both emotions occur following help, indebtedness occurs when a person perceives that they are under an obligation to make some repayment of compensation for the aid.[9] The emotions lead to different actions; indebtedness motivates the recipient of the aid to avoid the person who has helped them, whereas gratitude motivates the recipient to seek out their benefactor and to improve their relationship with them.[10][11] The new film "The Gratitude Experiment" by Douglas Vermeeren (Consider North AMerica's achievement Expert, The modern Day Napoleon Hill and known for his film The Opus.) has answers many questions in regards to abundance, indebtedness and financial well being. His film reports on many real life cases studies and scientific evidence that address the effects of gratitude on financial well being. In the film, Vermeeren presents evidence that gratitude can significantly effect the outcome of an individuals financial situation. This film is quite interesting as parts of Vermeeren's research was taken first hand from his studies of more than 400 of the world's top achievers.

Gratitude as a motivator of behavior

Gratitude may also serve to reinforce future prosocial behavior in benefactors. For example, one experiment 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.[12] In another study, regular patrons of a restaurant gave bigger tips when servers wrote “Thank you” on their checks.[13]

Individual Differences in Gratitude

Much of the recent work psychological research into gratitude has focused on the nature of individual difference in gratitude, and the consequences of being a more or less grateful person.[4] Three scales have been developed to measure individual differences in gratitude, each of which assesses somewhat different conceptions.[14] The GQ6[15] measures individual differences in how frequently and intensely people feel gratitude. The Appreciation Scale[16] measures 8 different aspects of gratitude: appreciation of people, possessions, the present moment, rituals, feeling of awe, social comparisons, existential concerns, and behaviour which expresses gratitude. The GRAT[17] assesses gratitude towards other people, gratitude towards the world in general, and a lack of resentment for what you do not have. A recent study showed that each of these scales are actually all measuring the same way of approaching life; this suggests that individual differences in gratitude include all of these components.[14]

Gratitude and Well-Being

A large body of recent work has suggested that people who are more grateful have higher levels of well-being. Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships[18][19][20]Grateful people also have higher levels of control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and self acceptance. [21]Grateful people have more positive ways of coping with the difficulties they experience in life, being more likely to seek support from other people, reinterpreted and grow from the experience, and spend more time planning how to deal with the problem.[22] Grateful people also have less negative coping strategies, being less likely to try and avoid the problem, deny there is a problem, blame themselves, or cope through substance use.[22]Grateful people sleep better, and this seems to be because they think less negative and more positive thoughts just before going to sleep[23].

Whilst many emotions and personality traits are important to well-being, there is evidence that gratitude may be uniquely important. First, a longitudinal study showed that people who were more grateful coped better with a life transition. Specifically, people who were more grateful before the transition were less stressed, less depressed, and more satisfied with their relationships three months later.[24] Second, two recent studies have suggested that gratitude may have a unique relationship with well-being, and can explain aspects of well-being that other personality traits cannot. Both studies showed that gratitude was able to explain more well-being than the Big Five and 30 of the most commonly studied personality traits.[19][21]

The above referred to film "The Gratitude Experiment" also addresses the effects of gratitude on health and recovery when health is less than optimal. Vermeeren studied the effects on many physical illnesses including cancer to common aliments that hinder our everyday performance. The website for this film also has many articles and resources that were not featured in the film. (www.Gratitude-Experiment.com)

Interventions to increase gratitude

Given that gratitude appears to be a strong determinant of people's well-being, several psychological interventions have been developed to increase gratitude.[4][25] For example, Watkins and colleagues[26] 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.

References

  1. ^ Emmons, R. A., & Crumpler, C. A. (2000). Gratitude as a human strength: Appraising the evidence. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 19, 56-69
  2. ^ Smith, A. (1790/1976). The Theory of Moral Sentiments (6th ed.). Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Classics. (Original work published 1790).
  3. ^ Linley, P. A., Joseph, S., Harrington, S., & Wood, A. M. (2006). Positive psychology: Past, present, and (possible) future.The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1, 3-16.
  4. ^ a b c Wood, A. M., Joseph, S., & Linley, P. A. (2007). Gratitude: The parent of all virtues. The Psychologist, 20, 18-21
  5. ^ a b c d Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Stewart, N., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2008). A social-cognitive model of trait and state levels of gratitude.Emotion, 8, 281-290.
  6. ^ McCullough, M. E., Tsang, J. & Emmons, R. A. (2004). Gratitude in intermediate affective terrain: Links of grateful moods to individual differences and daily emotional experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86,295-309. (electronic copy)
  7. ^ Lane, J., & Anderson, N. H. (1976). Integration of intention and outcome in moral judgment. Memory and Cognition, 4, 1-5.
  8. ^ Tesser, A., Gatewood, R., & Driver, M. (1968). Some determinants of gratitude. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9, 233-236.
  9. ^ Greenberg, M. S. (1980). A theory of indebtedness. In K. J. Gergen, M. S. Greenberg & R. H. Wills (Eds.), Social exchange: Advances in theory and research: New York: Plenum.
  10. ^ Watkins, P. C., Scheer, J., Ovnicek, M., & Kolts, R. (2006). The debt of gratitude: Dissociating gratitude and indebtedness. Cognition and Emotion, 20, 217-241.
  11. ^ Tsang, J. A. (2006). The effects of helper intention on gratitude and indebtedness. Motivation and Emotion, 30, 199-205.
  12. ^ Carey, J. R., Clicque, S. H., Leighton, B. A., & Milton, F. (1976). A test of positive reinforcement of customers. Journal of Marketing, 40, 98-100.
  13. ^ Rind, B., & Bordia, P. (1995). Effect of server's "Thank you" and personalization on restaurant tipping. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25, 745-751.
  14. ^ a b Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Stewart, N., & Joseph, S. (2008). Conceptualizing gratitude and appreciation as a unitary personality trait. Personality and Individual Differences, 44, 619-630.
  15. ^ McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112-127.
  16. ^ Adler, M. G., & Fagley, N. S. (2005). Appreciation: Individual differences in finding value and meaning as a unique predictor of subjective well-being. Journal of Personality, 73, 79-114.
  17. ^ Watkins, P. C., Woodward, K., Stone, T., & Kolts, R. L. (2003). Gratitude and happiness: Development of a measure of gratitude, and relationships with subjective well-being. Social Behavior and Personality', 31, 431-451.
  18. ^ McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112-127.
  19. ^ a b Wood, A. M., Joseph, S., & Maltby, J. (2008). PersonalPages.Manchester.ac.uk, Gratitude uniquely predicts satisfaction with life: Incremental validity above the domains and facets of the Five Factor Model. Personality and Individual Differences, 45, 49-54.
  20. ^ Kashdan, T.B., Uswatte, G., & Julian, T. (2006). Gratitude and hedonic and eudaimonic well-being in Vietnam War veterans. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 177-199.
  21. ^ a b Wood, A. M., Joseph, S. & Maltby (2009). Gratitude predicts psychological well-being above the Big Five facets. Personality and Individual Differences, 45, 655-660.
  22. ^ a b Wood, A. M., Joseph, S., & Linley, P. A. (2007). Coping style as a psychological resource of grateful people. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 26, 1108 – 1125.
  23. ^ Wood, A. M., Joseph, S., Lloyd, J., & Atkins, S. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 66, 43-48
  24. ^ Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2008). The role of gratitude in the development of social support, stress, and depression: Two longitudinal studies. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 854-871.
  25. ^ Emmons, R. A. & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 377-389. (electronic copy)
  26. ^ Watkins, P. C., Woodward, K., Stone, T., & Kolts, R. L. (2003). Gratitude and happiness: Development of a measure of gratitude, and relationships with subjective well-being. Social Behavior and Personality, 31, 431-452.

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.

Sourced

  • Whoever does not express his gratitude to people will never be grateful to God.
    • The Prophet Muhammad, reported in al-Tirmidhī, al-Ţabarānī, Musnad Ahmad, Musnad Abū Hanīfah, Musnad Abu Ya'la.
  • We can set our deeds to the music of a grateful heart, and seek to round our lives into a hymn — the melody of which will be recognized by all who come in contact with us, and the power of which shall not be evanescent, like the voice of the singer, but perenninal, like the music of the spheres.
    • William Mackergo Taylor, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 290.
  • Thankfulness is the tune of angels.
    • Edmund Spenser, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 290.
  • Did you ever think of the reason why the Psalms of David have come, like winged angels, down across all the realms and ages,— why they make the key-note of grateful piety in every Christian's soul, wherever he lives? Why? Because they are so full of gratitude. " Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!"
    • Alphonso Albert Willits, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 290.
  • Do not let the empty cup be your first teacher of the blessings you had when it was full. Do not let a hard place here and there in the bed destroy your rest. Seek, as a plain duty, to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life.
    • Alexander Maclaren, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 290.

Unsourced

  • Express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it.
    • Ralph Marston
  • Gratitude is a virtue disposing the mind to an inward sense and an outward acknowledgment of a benefit received, together with a readiness to return the same, or the like, as occasions of the doer of it shall require, and the abilities of the receiver extend to.
  • He who receives a good turn, should never forget it: he who does one, should never remember it.
  • What causes such a miscalculation in the amount of gratitude which men expect for the favors they have done, is, that the pride of the giver and that of the receiver can never agree as to the value of the benefit.
  • If gratitude is due from children to their earthly parents, how much more is the gratitude of the great family of man due to our Father in heaven!

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