The Science of Gratitude

Program 122 • 29 mins


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Gratitude has been called “the most pleasant of virtues and the most virtuous of pleasures.” As the blinders of pessimism are lifted, new possibilities come into view. Now, psychologists are uncovering many benefits from the systematic cultivation of gratitude, from emotional well-being to enhanced physical health. This program features author Catherine Price, who has battled her own cynicism to find gratitude, and Prof. Robert Emmons, a Univ. of California Davis, professor of positive psychology and author of “Thanks.” Although it is often a spontaneous impulse, feeling grateful is also a complex phenomenon that plays a critical role in human happiness. But it can require a conscious choice, for which positive psychologists have devised concrete exercises, such as maintaining a gratitude journal and stopping to savor wonderful things in everyday life.

Psychologists tell us that the tendency to look on the dark side, what?s known as the negativity bias, just pervades our consciousness, and how we interpret our lives, and ourselves, and the world around us. And so we need to gain control over our consciousness. And one way to do that is through the practice of developing gratitude, whether that comes through a gratitude journal, whether it comes through other thoughts and cognitions by which we can replace the non-grateful thoughts.”

—Robert A. Emmons, Univ. of California professor of psychology


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