Life skills: Gratitude leads to bliss

WASHINGTON: A feeling of gratefulness is the best way to achieve happiness and good life, according to a slew of new studies.

Gratitude, the feeling of thankfulness and joy in response to receiving a gift, is one of the essential ingredients for living a good life, says Todd Kashdan, associate professor of psychology at the George Mason University.

Kashdan’s paper found that men were much less likely to feel and express gratitude than women. In one study, Kashdan interviewed college students and older adults, asking them to describe and evaluate a recent episode when they received a gift.

He observed women reported feeling greater levels of gratitude when presented with gifts. Older men reported greater negative emotions when the gift giver was another man.“The way we get socialised as children affects what we do with our emotions as adults,” said Kashdan. “Because men are generally taught to control and conceal their softer emotions, this may be limiting their well-being.”

Kashdan named three elements essential for creating happiness and meaning in life: meaningful relationships, gratitude, and living in the present, with an attitude of openness and curiosity, according to a George Mason statement.