Gratitude: a feeling of appreciation or thanks; the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.
Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that gratitude has two key components, which he describes in a Greater Good essay, ‘Why Gratitude Is Good.’
“First,” he writes, “it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.” In the second part of gratitude, he explains, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.” Emmons and other researchers see gratitude as “a relationship-strengthening emotion, because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people” and it is felt that gratitude encourages us not only to appreciate gifts but to repay them (or pay them forward). Read more →