Situations that use to baffle us… –
NOVEMBER 19, 2019 – In a 2014 study in Psychological Science, researchers asked 75 participants to remember a time they felt grateful, a time they felt happy, or what they did on a usual day. The participants then made a series of choices between smaller, short-term rewards (i.e., receiving less money but sooner) or larger, long-term rewards (i.e., receiving more money later). For example, one question asked participants, “Would you rather receive $40 now or $55 62 days from now?”
The researchers found that participants who had written about gratitude were more likely to pick the larger rewards that they had to wait longer for (compared to participants in the happy or neutral groups). In other words, gratitude seems to help us manage our impatient urges.
While it might seem paradoxical to think about things we’re grateful for in more stressful situations, people who do this experience a variety of benefits: healthier coping, a greater sense of social support, less negative emotions, and less impatience. In other words, those times when gratitude doesn’t come as naturally to us might be exactly when we need it most.