Gratitude | Character Strength | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

Understand what gratitude is all about so you can begin recognizing it in yourself and others.
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.
Which virtue is this strength?
Gratitude is a strength within the virtue category of transcendence, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. Transcendence describes strengths that help you connect to the larger universe and provide meaning. The other strengths in Transcendence are appreciation of beauty & excellence , gratitude , hope , humor , and spirituality .
Transcendence

Explore and Apply Your Strength

Research findings on the benefits of the strength of gratitude found Gratitude is one of the strengths most connected to the experience of a meaningful life. Gratitude also contributes to several physical and psychological health benefits, such as better cardiovascular and immune functioning. The Strength of gratitude has religious or spiritual benefits as well, such as a feeling of interconnectedness with life, a general sense of responsibility towards others, and reduced emphasis on material goods.