An Attitude of Gratitude: Why Saying “I Am Grateful” Matters

An Attitude of Gratitude: Why Saying “I Am Grateful” Matters

via Psychology Today by Christopher Bergland

When it comes to “aging well,” a growing body of evidence suggests that optimism, gratitude, and positive self-perceptions of aging (SPA) may increase the odds of becoming one’s “hoped-for future self.

For example, a recent study (Turner & Hooker, 2020) found that strongly identifying with a “hoped-for” future self (or a “feared” future self) may create a self-fulfilling prophecy that influences who we become as older adults. This Oregon State University research suggests that visualizing the person you want to be in old age (e.g., joyful and connected vs. bitter and isolated) could be predictive of who you become as a senior citizen.


Source: AnaliseArt/Pixabay

Another recently published paper, “An Attitude of Gratitude: Older Japanese in the Hopeful Present,” by the University of Exeter’s Iza Kavedžija, unearths some time-tested ways that cultural traditions of “believing things will ‘somehow’ (nantonaku) work out well” combined with the regular use of phrases such as arigatai (“I am grateful”) and kansha helps older adults in Japan stay hopeful despite age-related challenges. Kansha means “gratitude,” “thanks,” or “appreciation” in Japanese.

This “attitude of gratitude” paper (Kavedžija, 2020) was published on December 14 in Anthropology and Aging. Kavedžija’s ethnographic Japan-based research focused on a cohort of people (age 80 and above) residing in one of South Osaka’s merchant neighborhoods called Shimoichi; these older adults remained hopeful, despite the challenges of aging.

Although these Japanese elders were in their 80s and 90s and had numerous concerns about the future, Kavedžija found that most cultivated what she calls “quiet hope” by sustaining a positive attitude rooted in kansha. “My argument is that gratitude as a mode of attunement offers the basis for what I have described as quiet hope,” she explains. Kavedžija also found that this “attitude of gratitude entwines the reflection on the past with an attention to the present moment in its fullness.”

… keep reading the full & original article HERE