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Expressing gratitude improves one's own happiness?


alanschu

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I'm really grateful for all that pseudosience, now I know that all those times I felt so happy that I needed to thank someone for what they did to make it so were cause by expressing gratitude.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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I'm really grateful for all that pseudosience, now I know that all those times I felt so happy that I needed to thank someone for what they did to make it so were cause by expressing gratitude.

 

Is it pseudoscience simply because it's merely a 7 minute video that doesn't go into the full details of their test methodology?  Or do we have insufficient evidence on their testing methodology to actually conclude that it wasn't a scientific experiment?  I mean, the video didn't even show people that were unable to actually contact the person, though they mentioned it at the end which gives an indication that more went on than what we saw in the video.

 

 

At 43 seconds they spawn up a link to a study, Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions, which I am reading right now.  Or are you critiquing that study too?  In retrospect, your allegations are vague to me.

 

 

EDIT: Nevermind that your conclusion demonstrably fails to indicate an understanding of the thesis.  You state "all those times I felt so happy that I needed to thank someone for what they did to make it so were cause [sic] by expressing gratitude," which wasn't the argument put forth.

Edited by alanschu
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I'll need to watch the video when I get home from work. In my world, there is no such thing as gratitude. The bonuses are nice though ;)

 

Might have a more intelligent contribution once I've watched it (and any linked to material).

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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By way of a control group, I haven't watched the video and I feel crap.

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"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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I read somewhere that it is self-compasion, not self-esteem, which is a key factor in happiness,let me see if I can find the link

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heidi-grant-halvorson-phd/self-compassion_b_1900989.html

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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I say thanks or express gratitude to people all the time, doesn't really make me feel any happier. Though I suspect it is because I am addicted to grumpiness.

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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I think that if you work to be more grateful, it forces you to pay more attention to the positive aspects of your life. By doing that you would be naturally less inclined to dwell only on the negative and would thus be a happier person. Just a non-scientific logic based guess...

Mostly Harmless

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They should study the peculiarly British phenomenon of when one person says sorry, everyone around them immediately also says sorry.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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They should study the peculiarly British phenomenon of when one person says sorry, everyone around them immediately also says sorry.

I thought that was Canada.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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They should study the peculiarly British phenomenon of when one person says sorry, everyone around them immediately also says sorry.

I thought that was Canada.

 

 

Sorry.

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"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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I'm really grateful for all that pseudosience, now I know that all those times I felt so happy that I needed to thank someone for what they did to make it so were cause by expressing gratitude.

There's actually a link in the video description to the study. Apparently the University of Pennsylvania is a hive of pseudoscience that somehow worms its way into reputable scientific journals.

 

http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/articleseligman.pdf

 

That said, one study alone cannot be considered concrete confirmation of a hypothesis. Correlation is not causation, as so many laymen fail to understand.

Edited by AGX-17
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I'm really grateful for all that pseudosience, now I know that all those times I felt so happy that I needed to thank someone for what they did to make it so were cause by expressing gratitude.

There's actually a link in the video description to the study. Apparently the University of Pennsylvania is a hive of pseudoscience that somehow worms its way into reputable scientific journals.

 

http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/articleseligman.pdf

 

That said, one study alone cannot be considered concrete confirmation of a hypothesis. Correlation is not causation, as so many laymen fail to understand.

 

I feel like i'm understood, that makes me happy :)

 

I was actually a little taken aback when I saw their channel I thought they were more activist of happiness than actual scientist, but that's just my opinion.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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They should study the peculiarly British phenomenon of when one person says sorry, everyone around them immediately also says sorry.

 

This must have been where we got it from.

 

 

 

I'm really grateful for all that pseudosience, now I know that all those times I felt so happy that I needed to thank someone for what they did to make it so were cause by expressing gratitude.

There's actually a link in the video description to the study. Apparently the University of Pennsylvania is a hive of pseudoscience that somehow worms its way into reputable scientific journals.

 

http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/articleseligman.pdf

 

That said, one study alone cannot be considered concrete confirmation of a hypothesis. Correlation is not causation, as so many laymen fail to understand.

 

 

To be fair, it's not the only study.  There is one here too (I have not read it yet): http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/gratitude/Emmons_McCullough_2003_JPSP.pdf

 

Correlation is not causation, but neither does it omit causation (indeed, causation requires correlation).  With respect to the experiment shown in the video, the control group are people that recalled their gratitude, but we not able to express it.  These results were compared with those that recalled their gratitude, but were able to express their gratitude to the person listed.

 

Though we can't really state that the experiment is not sound, unless we can expose faults with the experiment in the video.  Which would require more information than the video provides.  Note that it's perfectly valid to be skeptical of the experiment they performed without knowing this information, but we can't really elaborate on potential confounding causes.  Also note that a singular study is irrelevant to the claim "correlation does not equal causation."  A singular study simply means that there's less confidence in the hypothesis being true, and that it would need to be repeated.  If the only difference between the control group and the experiment group is whether or not they were able to share their gratitude with the person in question and reasonable assurances could be made that no other confounding variables caused the issue (and random sample, etc. etc.), then it would be a causal relationship, even if no one else did a study on it.

 

Though I suspect there are probably a lot of issues (probably sample size) given it was done for television.  Unless they did the study, in general, in a more appropriate location for other people.

 

 

We don't know the testing methodology really.  What are some confounding variables people feel have caused the difference in results?

Edited by alanschu
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I found this really interesting.

 

 

I though the experiment is a nice thing to watch but I question the connection between what they are saying and the reasons that people can improve there happiness levels on a permanent basis

 

As hinted  by others if a person in life does something positive of course there happiness levels will increase. Its like going to an excellent restaurant and eating a fantastic meal and then asking that person " are you happy at the moment " ...in most cases they will say yes.

 

Obviously almost any person who is asked to phone someone they respect and love and explain why that person is special to them will feel good about it afterwards. How can you not as you are sharing a personal, important  and emotional experience with them

 

Happiness is a chemical in your brain and a state a mind that is influenced by many things and its levels are impacted by how you perceive your reality :)

Edited by BruceVC

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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The experiment I'd suggest would be having the experimenter ask the subject to thank another stooge for a task the subject hasn't had specified/isn't attached to.

Edited by Walsingham

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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I don't think that simply being grateful is enough. I've always been polite and genuinely take care that all of my dealings with people cause them no more discomfort than is necessary. I show them all the respect gratitude that I would give myself had they performed the same service to me, which is often more than most would give, but I'm often unhappy regardless.

 

I'd say that perhaps being grateful is important to happiness. After all, if one is truly ungrateful for everything then nothing holds any value to him. But clearly it is more complicated than that.

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Ones manners are impeccable, ones misery fiercely retained.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I don't really understand - is this new? Anything that's generally considered positive reinforcement (vs. always being focused on the negative) tends to make one feel better, at least for a short time, whether it's from being grateful that you have a friend that's there when you need them or you get a job promotion and feel recognized for your abilities or you watch a movie that triggers feel-good emotions.

 

Positive/negative, happy/sad, it's a balance of both that makes us all human, so to speak. Sometimes we get off-balance too far into the negative for a while, but sometimes I think there's a little too much focus on constantly being "happy." Perhaps there is such a thing as too much happy, too? We need both, really.

 

...I'm blathering again.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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The idea that happiness is only happiness when it's away from your status quo.  I think that that is probably the case, and you can see it in a large scale with respect to our society.  The new <whatever> that we got is now stale, and getting something that we consider equivalent (even if "new") doesn't give us the same euphoria that we received with the first item.  You'll see people bitch because their phone is reverting to 3G instead of staying on an LTE network, while someone in a different part of the world receives a large meal and they feel elated because of this.

 

 

I actually agree that there's a bit too much focus on being happy (and equivalently, I think that there is too much emphasis on people being depressed), although what I got out of this video (which I shared mostly because it wasn't an idea that I had really considered before) was more the idea of reverting yourself away from unhappiness.  In that, a relatively simple act could see someone see some significant improvements in one's current mood, even if temporarily.  A sort of thought experiment into grounding oneself when faced with unpleasant circumstances.

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I though the experiment is a nice thing to watch but I question the connection between what they are saying and the reasons that people can improve there happiness levels on a permanent basis

 

Coming on my previous post (and LadyCrimson's), I'll have to ask what it means to improve happiness levels on a permanent basis?

 

 

 

 

As hinted  by others if a person in life does something positive of course there happiness levels will increase. Its like going to an excellent restaurant and eating a fantastic meal and then asking that person " are you happy at the moment " ...in most cases they will say yes.

 

Obviously almost any person who is asked to phone someone they respect and love and explain why that person is special to them will feel good about it afterwards. How can you not as you are sharing a personal, important  and emotional experience with them

 

If it's obvious, why the quick dismissal by some people?  It seems obvious to you, but not to others.

 

 

 

 

 

I don't think that simply being grateful is enough. I've always been polite and genuinely take care that all of my dealings with people cause them no more discomfort than is necessary. I show them all the respect gratitude that I would give myself had they performed the same service to me, which is often more than most would give, but I'm often unhappy regardless.

 

And here we have a genuine analysis as to what could be a confounding variable (as opposed to simply stating an intro level social science mantra of "correlation is not causation.").  Thank you! :)

 

In this situation, perhaps the people in the video do not regularly express their gratitude, and as such they are more likely to feel the benefits in this situation.  You mention that you regularly express your gratitude, yet do not typically feel happy.

 

(There are others: What were their baselines happiness levels (the least happy person seemed to benefit the most, although you consider yourself to be typically unhappy)?  Would someone that already feels elated see as much of a benefit?  Would they otherwise remain at a state of elation rather than tapering off?)

 

 

Turning this towards yourself, do you think that maybe your expressions of gratitude are simply so common that, for yourself, they aren't really an expression of gratitude and more just the way a human being should behave?

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