Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Relationship between Gratitude and Happiness in College Students

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Relationship between Gratitude and Happiness in College Students

Article excerpt

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything is a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you've been given, a sense of wonder (Emmons & Shelton, 2002). Gratitude is most simply defined as "being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen" (Park & Peterson, 2006). While moral philosophers and religious thinkers have recognized gratitude as being beneficial to experiencing a happy and good life for centuries. Scientific researchers have only recently begun to systematically study gratitude (Peterson & Seligman, 2004).

Behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Emmons and McCulloug (2003) examined the effect of gratitude on psychological and physical well-being. Giving thanks make people happier and more resilient; it strengthens relationships, reduces stress and improves health. It also helps in enhancing self-worth (Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006b; Toepfer & Walker, 2009).

Happiness or subjective well-being (SWB) is defined as the balance between frequent positive effect, infrequent negative effect and a high level of life satisfaction (Diener, 1984).

An individual leading a life of pleasure can be seen as maximizing positive emotions and minimizing negative ones.

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (1996) describes that happiness is a state of deep, effortless involvement. It occurs most frequently when we concentrate our undivided attention on activities that are moderately challenging to us. When we are in flow, it may seem that our sense of self vanishes and time stops. Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2014) states that in order to achieve flow you must identify your signature strengths that are deeply characteristic of yourself, and learn how to practice them.

An individual leading a life of meaning belongs to and serves something that is bigger than him. These larger entities could be family, religion, community, country, or even ideas.

The tendency to access the thankful attitude is always appreciated. A negative predisposition to complain of what is not provided must be discarded. Be grateful to Me and to both of your parents! The return is to Me (Qur'an, Luqman, 14). A healthy growth enhancing and rejuvenating approach of thanking to Allah and those who are providing you support and facilities should be adopted because it helps to increases self- worth also. The admittance of enhancing happiness and subjective well-being will lead to reduction in depression especially in youth of this era.

Layous and Lyubomirsky (2005) proposed the Sustainable Happiness Model (SHM) as an attempt to increase people's happiness level. This model states that happiness is causally affected by three factors that have been supported by research in the literature on well-being. First, the genetic or heredity factor (Lykken & Tellegen, 1996) which is the original set-point that a person returns to, after the process of hedonic adaptation. It accounts for 50% of the population's variation (i.e., the percentage of the variance that each of the three factors accounts for in cross-sectional well-being). Second, the life circumstances factor (Diener et al., 1999) which is the constant reality for any person, such as the personal history of past trauma or a financial status and it accounts for 10% of the population's variation

Another theoretical framework that guides research on gratitude is the broaden and-Build theory of positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2001). The broaden-and-build theory asserts that positive emotions, such as joy, pride, contentment and love, widen the array of thoughts and actions person experiences, which in turn builds or strengthens the individual's physical, social, and/or intellectual resources. As a positive emotion, gratitude may also broaden and build (Fredrickson, 2004). …

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