How can that be?
I found something out today that I think is fascinating! No… It amazes me that it is true! I think we can all agree that we know that gratitude has been around for a while. Longer than me. And you. And our parents. And theirs. And… well I think you get the picture. It got me thinking and I did a little research.
I think the Bible is pretty old (not the oldest book, but at least a good starting point). In the Bible, Hebrews 12:28 says, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” That sounds pretty old!
In the 1750s(ish), Adam Smith said, “One’s awareness of merit derives from one’s sympathy with the gratitude of the person benefited by the action. One’s sense of merit, then, is a derivative of the feeling of gratitude which is manifested in the situation by the person who has been helped.” That has been around for a while.
So the thing that amazed me is that Gratitude was not really studied formally until 2000! “The systematic study of gratitude within psychology only began around the year 2000, possibly because psychology has traditionally been focused more on understanding distress rather than understanding positive emotions.” (http://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/staff/alex.wood/positive%20psychology,%20past%20present%20and%20possible%20future.pdf).
If someone can find proof otherwise, I would love to learn that gratitude was studied more formally before then! Until then…
Sign up for the Gratitude Quote of the Day at: www.AllAboutGratitude.com
I don’t know if you could call it the study of gratitude alone, but a movement in psychology started 10-20 years ago where they started studying why some people thrived in horrible situations while others didn’t. (I think it was called Positive Psychology.) I know one of the results of that movement was a book called ‘Raising an Optimistic Child’. Really a neat read even if you don’t have children. The book basically says you can’t raise an optimistic child if you are not optimistic yourself and one of the techniques to develop optimism is called ‘night time nuggets’… basically a gratitude list.
I have one child who when she came home from 1st grade told me she hated her life. (It turned out that some one drew better than her). Long story short, someone reccommended the book and we started the night time nugget process. At the beginning all she wanted to do was complain a
bout her day (at 6 years old!!!). She was unable to think of anything for which she was grateful. So at the beginning she could have one complaint followed by one thing she was grateful for; and for some time I had to suggest the items for the gratitude list. She is nineteen now and her friends identify her ‘joy in living’ as one of her most outstanding traits.