Would YOU Be Grateful for $5.6 m?

By Shlomo Maital    


    Do you regularly count your blessings?  We are all showered with them, but sometimes, take them for granted, especially the small ones, the ones that turn out to be actually really BIG.

   Psychologist Robert Emmons says America is in crisis, but not because of the economy. “We have lost a strong sense of gratitude about the freedoms we enjoy,” he says.  Emmons is editor of the Journal of Positive Psychology.  Positive Psychology is a branch of psychology developed by Martin Seligman, that tries to show how we can be happier, more content, and..well, more grateful. 

   Emmons himself is enormously grateful about gratitude. His application for a grant was accepted, and he was given $5.6 m. to research the subject by the John Templeton Foundation. I am certain he would win, hands down, a Golden Fleece award, awarded by the late Senator Proxmire, for weird money-wasting research.  (Here are a few projects that won the Golden Fleece:  * Office of Education for spending $219,592 in a “curriculum package” to teach college students how to watch television; United States Department of the Army for a 1981 study on how to buy Worcestershire sauce;  United States Department of Defense for a $3,000 study to determine if people in the military should carry umbrellas in the rain).

   But in fact, if more of us were more grateful, if more of us just said thanks, that simple act would reinforce our own feelings of wellbeing, and the acts of kindness done by others.  And the best part:  Saying thanks, to the Creator, and to those around us, is free.  It doesn’t even cost 5.6 cents. 

  So good luck Emmons.  Let’s hope you reveal enormously insightful new findings about gratitude, especially – why we take for granted massive blessings. 

Source: APA Monitor Sept. 2012, p. 13.