Cultivating gratitude is an evidence-based positive psychology technique. This information handout describes reasons to cultivate a grateful attitude, and helpful practical steps in developing a gratitude practice.
Gratitude has been described as “the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself and represents a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation” (Sansone & Sanson, 2010). Conceptually gratitude has been viewed as an emotion which occurs after receiving assistance, or as a dispositional “orientation towards noticing the positive in the world” (Wood et al, 2010). This dispositional or trait gratitude is positively associated with a number of measures of well-being and there is evidence that it is possible to increase gratitude through practice – with associated increases in well-being. The Gratitude Journal is a positive psychology worksheet. It describes the concept of gratitude, briefly reports research findings supporting its beneficial associations, and provides recommendations to aid in the completion of a gratitude journal / gratitude list.
This is a Psychology Tools information handout. Suggested uses include:
- Client handout – use as a psychoeducation resource
- Discussion point – use to provoke a discussion and explore client beliefs
- Therapist learning tool – improve your familiarity with a psychological construct
- Teaching resource – use as a learning tool during training
- 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.
- Froh, J. J., Sefick, W. J., & Emmons, R. A. (2008). Counting blessings in early adolescents: An experimental study of gratitude and subjective well-being. Journal of school psychology, 46(2), 213-233.
- Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2010). Gratitude and well being: The benefits of appreciation. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 7(11), 18.
- Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). How to increase and sustain positive emotion: The effects of expressing gratitude and visualizing best possible selves. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(2), 73-82.
- Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical psychology review, 30(7), 890-905.