Gratitude Card Activity
Taking time to feel grateful can help us make positive thinking a habit. Gratitude guides our thoughts towards the good we already have instead of what we don’t have. Taking time to express gratitude every day reminds us of the good in our lives, and in turn makes us feel better and gives us a more positive outlook.
What the experts say:
- Well-Being: Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress. The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.
- Prosociality: People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathic and to take the perspective of others. They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002).
- Spirituality: Those who regularly attend religious services and engage in religious activities such as prayer reading religious material score are more likely to be grateful. Grateful people are more likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and a commitment to and responsibility to others (McCullough et. al., 2002).
- Materialism: Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods; they are less likely to judge their own and others’ success in terms of possessions accumulated; they are less envious of others; and are more likely to share their possessions with others relative to less grateful persons.
Dimensions and Perspectives of Gratitude
Co-Investigators: Robert A. Emmons, University of California, Davis
Michael E. McCullough, Southern Methodist University
Make It Real!
- Write a gratitude letter/email/text message to the person you said you are grateful for.
- Take a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle of it. At the top of the paper on the left side write “I am grateful for” and on the right side write “Because.” Put it up somewhere people at work or home have access to it (refrigerator, announcement board, break room etc.). Tell them that everyone can add to the “gratitude board.” They can put their initials by it or not.
What Do You Think?
What do these findings mean to you? What is something you are grateful for and why? Who are you grateful to have in your life and why? How does it feel when we focus on things we’re grateful for?
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