Key point: Gratitude is directly connected to the value of abundance. In FACT, expressing and feeling a sense of gratitude is good for us. Dr. Robert Emmons and his team at UC Davis have conducted important research to determine the relationship between having a sense of gratitude and our sense of well being. On the other hand, referencing the work of Oxford’s Matt Ridley, the authors, Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, in their book Abundance, note that we have a propensity to embrace pessimism. The concept called “loss aversion,” which is a bias towards putting more emphasis on our losses versus wins, can put us into a “sour puss” rut. Practicing gratitude is a great antidote!
The following summarizes Emmons’ (August 2011) findings regarding the benefits to people who score high on the gratitude scale:
- 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 feelings 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 empathetic and to take the perspective of others. They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks.
- Spirituality: Grateful people are more likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and a commitment and responsibility to others. Gratitude does not require religious faith, but faith enhances the ability to be grateful.
- 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.
- Practice being grateful by consciously identifying what and who we are grateful for.
- Get into the habit of writing down what and who we are grateful for on a daily basis. If daily feels like too much, try it once a week.
- Be careful of the negative outcome of having a loss aversion bias. Let’s put wins and losses in perspective. If you focus on loss and lack, that’s what you’re likely to experience.
- Have fun being grateful. e.g. When grateful for what someone might do for you, tweet them a beer ….See Tweet-A-Beer.
- Read Abundance by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. It makes us more hopeful for the future!
Gratitude in the Triangle ,