AC4P with Dr. Scott Geller 004 | Gratitude
How often do you sit down and appreciate what you have? How often do you call the ones you love and tell them?
Join Dr. Scott Geller as he explains how gratitude isn't only for other people but for you as we continue to learn to ACTIVELY CARE FOR PEOPLE (including ourselves).
Dr. Scott Geller (00:00):
Do you count your blessings? Really? How often do you sit back and look around and be grateful for what you have? For me, I'm almost 80 years old and I'm grateful to be alive, to be here, you know, but some of the simple things we take for granted, I mean, we turn on a faucet, we got water, you know, we get in our car and it actually works. Research shows that if we count our blessings, if we're grateful, we're more likely to be motivated. We're more likely to be happy. Martin Seligman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania studied happiness. You know, much of psychology for years is about studying those who are emotionally distraught, unhappy. And dr. Seligman said we need to study the other side of the coin. You know, what makes people happy? Of course, he found out that money does not make you happy after you have enough money to satisfy your basic needs for food, shelter, and safety.
Dr. Scott Geller (01:35):
And we've known that for years, your common sense tells you that. But what he has also shown is that expressing gratitude to others increases your subjective wellbeing. And that's the term they use SWB, subjective well-being. Not only thanking others increases their subjective well-being, but when you express gratitude to others, your own subjective well-being increases, your positive emotions increase your sense of interpersonal belonging increases. So I ask you the question, when's the last time you called up your mom, your dad, your grandmother, your child, and thanked them for what they do for you. Think about what that does for them as well as what it'll do for you. We conducted some research just this summer. The university was closed. Students were sent home in March and we asked the students as part of their assignment to fill out a survey about happiness, motivation, feeling competent and how it works was two groups.
Dr. Scott Geller (02:59):
One group of 21 students were asked to write a gratitude letter to someone by Wednesday. The other group of students, there are only 12 in this group. They did not write a gratitude letter. And again, we assessed their happiness, their motivation every day for 34 workdays, 34 weekdays. And we analyze that data just recently, Sam Browning, my research assistant here just analyzed this data and he actually presented it at a conference yesterday. And what did we find? Yes, those who wrote that gratitude letter were significantly more motivated over the course of 34 days than those who did not write the gratitude letter. Now I should also say that over the course of 34 days, everybody's motivation kind of decreased. I mean, they're, they're stuck at home. They weren't allowed out where we're here because of COVID-19 not going anywhere. And their level of motivation actually decreased for both groups, but the gratitude group showed an increase in motivation and they just also showed less worthlessness.
Dr. Scott Geller (04:21):
I mean, we asked them how worthless do they feel? And the group who wrote a gratitude letter felt more, we could say felt more worthy, alright. Now other words like competent, how competent are you, that didn't change. So competence didn't change as a function of writing that letter and neither did feeling depressed. So my point is showing gratitude, just writing a gratitude letter increases your sense of motivation. So how simple is that with regard to increasing your motivation and your subjective wellbeing, show more gratitude. Both people benefit from that. The benefactor meaning the giver of gratitude, you and the receiver, the beneficiary of gratitude. So what if we just sat back and realized what I've got right now. You know, I've got life and I get up and look around, appreciate what we have, feeling gratitude will increase your motivation, your subjective wellbeing. And now how about if we reach out and we show that gratitude to others, just a thank you, just a thumbs up, a statement of appreciation. It's been shown by the way that people at work are least likely to give gratitude and receive gratitude. So at home gratitude is more frequent, but at work, it doesn't happen that often. And what a shame, because that's where we need to really feel motivated to do our job. So that's our lesson show gratitude, feel gratitude, and feel more motivated.
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