Why does gratitude matter?

One of the central findings of positive psychology is that attending to positive things improves our lives. Simply put, gratitude can make us feel happier and more fulfilled. When we feel gratitude, we relive a positive experience. When we express gratitude—especially when it’s heartfelt rather than a reflexive throw-away—we strengthen our relationships with other people.

What does gratitude look like?

Students who feel and express gratitude might

  • write a thank you note to a teacher
  • thank a classmate for homework help
  • offer to give back by tutoring younger students
  • help maintain the school garden

Teachers who feel and express gratitude might

  • model gratitude; publicly thank a student for a specific action at the start or end of class each day
  • set a department norm of beginning meetings by inviting participants to express appreciation for each other
  • write extended thank-you notes to members of the school community before holidays or end of the year
  • start an email chain with other teachers about positive moments in the school day

Videos about gratitude

Research articles about gratitude

Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration
Clinical Psychology Review 30, 890–905.
Wood, A., Froh, J., & Geraghty, A. (2010).

What good is gratitude in youth and schools? A systematic review and meta-analysis of correlates and intervention outcomes
Psychology in the Schools 53(3), 286–305.
Renshaw, T. & Olinger Steeves, R. M. (2016).

A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way: Explaining Why Gratitude Expressions Motivate Prosocial Behavior Communal Mechanism: Social Worth
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(6), 946–955.
Grant, A. M. & Gino, F. (2010).