Christmas decorations, festive recipes and Christmas cookies decorate a wide variety of public places. Already in many shopping stores preparation for this year’s Christmas is very present. The Christmas season triggers a contemplative, mindful mood in many people.
The thought of gratitude is not long in coming at this time. Gratitude, a thoroughly positive emotion, expresses itself as a sincere form of happiness. Since the birth of Positive Psychology, researchers have been increasingly concerned with the topic of gratitude. According to diverse studies, gratitude is associated with various positive physical and psychological outcomes. First and foremost, gratitude fosters social relationships and can connect people (Algoe, 2012; Gordon et al., 2012).
Not surprisingly, gratitude is positively associated with well-being (Wood et al., 2010), and experimental and longitudinal studies showed that the relationship between gratitude and well-being is causal (e.g., Emmons & McCullough, 2003, 2004; Nezlek et al., 2017; Wood et al., 2010). For example, a diary study demonstrated that the negative association between daily stress and self-esteem was weaker on days when people felt grateful than on days when they felt less grateful. In addition, gratitude was associated with better subjective physical health (Hill et al., 2013). Thus, gratitude is not only a beautiful, mindful moment, but can improve our mental and physical health in the long term.
Wouldn’t it therefore be beneficial to integrate gratitude much more prominently into our everyday lives and not just at Christmas time?
Algoe, S. B. (2012). Find, remind, and bind: The functions of gratitude in everyday relationships. Social and personality psychology compass, 6(6), 455-469.
Gordon, A. M., Impett, E. A, Kogan, A., Oveis, C., & Keltner, D. (2012). To have and to hold: Gratitude promotes relationship maintenance in intimate bonds. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 103 (2), 257–74.
Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. A. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review 30 (7), 890–905.
Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84 (2), 377–389.
Hill, P. L., Allemand, M., & Roberts, B. W. (2013). Examining the pathways between gratitude and self-rated physical health across adulthood. Personality and Individual Differences 54 (1), 92–96.
John B. Nezlek, David B. Newman & Todd M. Thrash (2017) A daily diary study of relationships between feelings of gratitude and well-being, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 12:4, 323-332, DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2016.1198923