Do You Want a Happy Thanksgiving? A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day

Part 9 of series:
Thanksgiving: Not Just a Day, But a Season

Do You Want a Happy Thanksgiving?

A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day

Do you want a happy Thanksgiving? According to John Tierney, writing for the New York Times, “A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day.”

And more than just the day. It may save your well-being, your enjoyment of life, and even your long-term health.

Thanksgiving dinner with members of my family.

On Monday, I put up a post entitled “Want a Happier, Healthier Life? Then Be Thankful!” It was a review of an article I read in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In this piece, Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough show how the regular expression of gratitude makes a measurable difference in a person’s well-being. Tierney cites the Emmons and McCullough study, but goes further. He summarizes the research of behavior scientists on gratitude, offering nine pieces of practical advice, including:

Start with “gratitude lite.”

Don’t confuse gratitude with indebtedness.

Try it on your family.

Rupert quotes from one researcher:

“Gratitude is more than just feeling good,” says Nathan DeWall, who led the study at Kentucky. “It helps people become less aggressive by enhancing their empathy. “It’s an equal-opportunity emotion. Anyone can experience it and benefit from it, even the most crotchety uncle at the Thanksgiving dinner table.”

I was particularly struck by a statement from Robert Emmons, a psychologist at the University of California, Davis:

“As a culture, we have lost a deep sense of gratefulness about the freedoms we enjoy, a lack of gratitude toward those who lost their lives in the fight for freedom, a lack of gratitude for all the material advantages we have,” he says. “The focus of Thanksgiving should be a reflection of how our lives have been made so much more comfortable by the sacrifices of those who have come before us.”


Happy Thanksgiving!


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