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Designing Positive PsychologyTaking Stock and Moving Forward$
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Kennon M. Sheldon, Todd B. Kashdan, and Michael F. Steger

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195373585

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195373585.001.0001

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Why Gratitude Enhances Well-Being

Why Gratitude Enhances Well-Being

What We Know, What We Need to Know

Chapter:
(p.248) 16 Why Gratitude Enhances Well-Being
Source:
Designing Positive Psychology
Author(s):

Robert A. Emmons

Anjali Mishra

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195373585.003.0016

Gratitude is an acknowledgment that we have received something of value from others. It arises from a posture of openness to others, where we are able to gladly recognize their benevolence. Societies through the ages have long extolled the benefits of gratitude, and classical writings have deemed it the “greatest of the virtues.” But only recently has psychological theory and research on gratitude begun to catch up with philosophical commendations. This chapter begins by reviewing research on gratitude and positive human functioning. It explores the mechanisms by which gratitude enhances well-being and considers at several explanations and evaluates the empirical evidence for each. The chapter then establishes an agenda for the future by considering some ways in which the scientific field of gratitude can be advanced.

Keywords:   gratitude, well-being, positive human functioning, openness, benevolence

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