On November 18, I posted a blog about things I’m grateful for, and I encouraged others to do the same…and to be specific about it. It’s pretty common for people to say they’re thankful for health, friends, and the beauties of nature, but it’s more rare for them to, well, be specific. I like having an attitude of gratitude because it makes me aware of how blessed I truly am. Plus, thinking about things I might record in my gratitude journal forces me to pay attention, to be more fully conscious of my surroundings.
This morning I was previewing a new textbook for possible adoption in an introductory psychology course and came across an even stonger incentive to experience gratitude. According to Laura A. King in The Science of Psychology by McGraw Hill, gratitude is a complex positive emotion that comes from the “experience of having something good in your life that you realize you have not earned or necessarily deserved.” Read on. She quotes philosopher Robert Solomon who suggests that gratitude is not only “the best answer to the tragedies of life. It is the best approach to life itself.” King cites others who have shown that being grateful can lead to enhanced happiness and psychological well-being.
What’s so neat about this research is the evidence that “even those who are not naturally grateful can benefit by taking a moment to count their blessings.” Isn’t psychology great? Don’t you want to be happier and have a heightened sense of well-being? Then let’s get started. Share something on this blog that you’re grateful for…and be specific about it.
I’ll start. I’m grateful that I have a safe car to drive 30 miles home in and that I get to listen to Christmas music by Vanessa Williams on the way. Your turn.