Psychology & Gratitude

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.

Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

6 thoughts on “Psychology & Gratitude”

  1. So many answers..I am grateful that, even though I make many mistakes, no matter what, I can be forgiven to start over. .I am grateful to be able to think and reason to know that there is so much to learn and share!
    I am grateful to be online and learning so much from my blogging peers! I am grateful to be able to find projects online that allow me to save gas and many other resouces by working at home!
    Oh my, I am not going to try and say it all…it’s a fact that I have so much to be grateful that I don’t even have the capacity to express the magnitude!
    God’s Blessings, indeed!

  2. Hey Jayne, on taking my little puppy back outside (he’s like a two year old! 😉 I realized I meant to originally add that I am thankful to have a home to decorate for the holidays.
    In thinking about how greedily the hoopla can cause children to behave…When I volunteer at Agape and Manna, I see many children who will only get what’s been donated. I used to take my son to pick out four toys for other children. Two toys (boy & girl his age) and two clothing items (boy & girl his age). To be able to do that is a blessing in itself, isn’t it?
    In His Love.

  3. Ok here is your chance…I just wanted to drop in and tell you that you’ve been tagged for a meme! I hope you can rise to the challenge, but no pressure and no stressing allowed. Visit me for all the details.

  4. Dale, What a great post! I agree with you that there is literally so much to be greatful for that we hardly know where to begin and there’s no way we could include everything. Ditto to the blogging friends and their many contributions to my thinking and overall view of things. Anyone who says she can’t understand why a person would want to blog just hasn’t tried it!

    Quick thought about the children and Santa. (We have a Christmas celebration here in 16 minutes that’s in another building). The president of the school where I used to work told a story once about this community organization that he was associated with and about how one evening they (the men) took many children from shelter homes to shop at Wal-Mart. Each child had been given $100 or so. Anyway, what absolutely floored him was that each and everyone of them wanted to spend their money on other people and not themselves.When they realized that they had to get something for themselves, they chose socks and underwear, gifts that his own children wouldn’t even have considered to be gifts. It was a sobering and humbling experience for him…and for the rest of us who heard him talk about it. I KNOW it changed his life, his perspective, and his generosity.

  5. I really am thankful for my friends because they keep me sane!
    I am grateful for my daughter’s kind heart, her latest gesture was to allow me to adopt a kitten she rescued. “Moe” has been a joy, he is so playful and just wants to be cuddled! No judgement from him, just come play Ma! I am thankful for my grandchildren who are so delightful. Hunter looked at me the other day and said, “Nonnie, You are my Best Friend!” I am richly blessed and most of my blessings cannot been seen or touched but are true gifts of the heart.

  6. Ditto to the the friends comment. My transition here would not have been nearly so smooth without you, Telene, Cindy, Katie, Michelle, and dear Dorothy. And about the grandchildren, ditto to that too. I’m sure our children were just as adorable and delightful, but perhaps we were so busy matching their socks, preparing their food, tucking them in at night, and so forth that we didn’t take the time to pause and really appreciate them. I’m thankful we have that opportunity with our grands.

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