COVID-19 Resources: Learn how to apply character strengths to boost resilience and support others.
“I am grateful for many things and I express that thankfulness to others.”
Become Aware Of Your Strength
What is Gratitude?
The character strength of gratitude involves feeling and expressing a deep sense of thankfulness in life, and more specifically, taking the time to genuinely express thankfulness to others. This thankfulness can be for specific gifts or thoughtful acts. It could also more generally reflect recognition of what that person contributes to your life. We can be grateful for deliberate acts by others, such as a piece of art from a child, or for spontaneous treasures, such as a cool breeze on your face on a hot day. What marks gratitude is the psychological response: the transcendent feeling of thankfulness, the sense of having been given a gift by that person or event. Grateful people experience a variety of positive emotions, and those emotions inspire them to act in more virtuous ways – humbler, more persistent, or kinder. Gratitude tends to foster the character strengths of kindness and love, and therefore is closely associated with empathy and with connection to others.
There are two types of gratitude:
- Benefit-triggered gratitude= the state that follows when a desired benefit is received from a benefactor.
- Generalized gratitude= the state resulting from awareness and appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to yourself. There are two stages of gratitude:
- Acknowledging the goodness in your life.
- Recognizing the source of this goodness is outside yourself.
Explore Your Strength
Reflect on how you’ve used gratitude in the past, in everyday life and during special or critical times.
Apply Your Strength
How can you make the most of gratitude in your everyday life? In the moments that matter most? Here are some ideas.
- Write down three good thing that you are grateful for each day.
- Set aside at least ten minutes every day to savor a pleasant experience.
- Make a point to go out of your way to express thanks to someone at work who is not typically recognized. Be sure to offer a few sentences of explanation about why you are grateful to them and note the impact their actions have had on you.