Why is gratitude so powerful? It’s hard to feel like the world is terrible when we notice all the things that other people are doing for us. And when we express that gratitude, it deepens our connection to others.
It turns out that we adapt more to things than experiences. Over time we become happier with experiences we’ve had, while the happiness about things we’ve acquired fades. Experiences become part of who we are and connect us to others. Research shows that we’re also more grateful for experiences than things, and thinking of an experiential purchase (like a vacation, a yoga class or a dinner out) makes us more generous – while thinking of a material purchase (like a new phone) makes us less generous.
The same goes for gratitude: People report feeling more grateful for experiential purchases than for material purchases. The research team analyzed the reviews that people leave on various consumer websites, they found that people generally indicate more gratitude when writing about an experience (e.g., on Yelp or TripAdvisor) than when writing about a material good (e.g., on Amazon). This offers an important lesson about gratitude, and an important lesson for how we spend our money.
Robert Emmons of UC Davis, world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, offers everyday tips for living a life of gratitude: if you go through grateful motions, the emotion of gratitude should be triggered. Grateful motions include smiling, saying thank you, and writing letters of gratitude.
William Arthur Ward: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
humour: What did the farmer say when he saw 3 ducks inside his mailbox? bills bills bills!!!