Assessing Your Propensity for Gratitude.
As the leaves fall, temperatures drop, and we dust off our cornucopia centerpieces, it is an opportunity
for us to take more time than usual to reflect upon things for which we are thankful. We know that
gratitude warms our hearts, makes us happier people, and is good for our relationships. No one
would argue about its power, and few people can deny its positive effects. And yet, some of us still don’t
practice being grateful as much as we’d like to. BY DR. CARRIE HUTCHINSON.
It seems like a simple equation:
What you have + appreciation for
what you have = happiness.
As we look a bit closer at the equation, we find what social scientists
refer to as a confounding variable;
that is, something that can get in the
way of a simple causational link.
In this case, the thing that can get in
the way is called attributional style.
Attributional style is a person’s
tendency to see things in a positive or
negative light and most people can
be classified as having either a positive
or negative attributional style. Put
simply, it’s whether someone’s glass
is half empty or half full. Of course,
there are both pros and cons of each
style. People who possess a positive
attributional style can be recklessly
optimistic, while those with a negative
attributional style can be overly criti-
cal. However, when it comes to the
ability to feel and express gratitude,
there is a clear winner: Positive folks
simply have it easier. This is not to say
that their negative counterparts are
lost causes in the art of giving thanks;
they just have to try a lot harder.