Gratitude Exercises

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Reading on the Psychology of Gratitude

My primary source for reading about the Psychology of Gratitude is Emmons and McCullough, The Psychology of Gratitude, Oxford University Press, 2004. Emmons and McCullough are widely known among gratitude researchers for their pioneering work on the relationship between so-called "gratitude journaling" and elevation in subjective well-being. In this one volume work, Emmons and McCullough have brought together essays from researchers on a variety of topics related to gratitude, such as gratitude in the history of ideas, in anthropology and biology, and in positive psychology. A particularly useful chapter is Chapter 9: Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being, by Philip C. Watkins. Here are Chapter 1 and Chapter 9.

The Gratitude Exercise

The gratitude exercise is based on the original research by Emmons and McCullough in 2003. See p. 174 of Emmons and McCullough, The Psychology of Gratitude, for a summary of the basic prompt for this journal based research. A basic gratitude exercise could consist of replicating their research by journaling. You could carry out the journaling exercise and then write a reflection paper about your experience. You could turn in a sample of some of your journal entries along with your reflection paper.