Gratitude, The Brain, Morality, Group Behavior

Those of you following my posts will note that I love to study gratitude in addition to feeling it and watching others practice and talk about being grateful. The study of gratitude will take years to fully understand all the dimensions, traits, and states. My purpose is to excite you, influence your thinking, invite you to reflect, and please you with various examples of joyful gratitude. Once in a while I will take you a bit deeper into an understanding of what it means to be grateful. Today is such a posting, which is why I label this particular blog as #gratitudeultra.

In the positive psychology literature, it was reported that the field of neuroscience is beginning to explore how gratitude impacts the human brain. That is, when people feel grateful the areas in their brain that deal with morality, reward, and judgement are more active. This is very exciting stuff I think.

When we reflect upon societies or groups that are viewed as more moral such as religious thinkers and philosophers, we may begin to link, develop, foster, and guide other groups toward more moral behaviors through the practice of gratitude.

Let me provide a practical example: If gratitude and morality are linked, think of how negative behaviors or actions may be linked to the lack of appreciation, or may be linked to general frustrations for negative behaviors we are seeing in society. A more grateful person or group is more moral. A less happy person or group is less moral.

Sazi on September 10, 2018 summarized:

Happiness does not lead to gratitude, but it is gratitude that leads to happiness.

Thus, I believe that gratitude is not only about practices by individuals, but gratitude is also about practices by groups. Societies, or groups of citizens that practice the state of gratitude tend to be more moral.

Groups that do not practice gratitude, but rather practice censure, condemnation, thanklessness, and ungratefulness experience the societal consequences of a breakdown in the morality of those particular communities.

The consequences for members within such communities are not pleasant experiences, and minimally we see such as unhappiness, violence, frustration, and dismay.

In conclusion, I urge everyone to practice gratitude individually as well as to form gratitude circles (which I described within an earlier posting on March 24, 2021 ).

What do you think?

Additional reading and particular relevant references for you within this article.

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