The Benefits of Gratitude
gratitude n. a sense of thankfulness and happiness in response to receiving a gift, either a tangible benefit (e.g., a present, favor) given by someone or a fortunate happenstance (e.g., a beautiful day). - The APA Dictionary of Psychology
"Positive psychology defines gratitude in a way where scientists can measure its effects, and thus argue that gratitude is more than feeling thankful: it is a deeper appreciation for someone (or something) that produces longer lasting positivity." (Positive Psychology) More on how others define gratitude.
Why show gratitude?
Research shows that regularly expressing gratitude improves various facets of wellness and resilience for individuals and has a positive impact on larger communities, like the University of Arizona. Gratitude does not cancel out negative emotions or experiences, but regularly expressing gratitude can help some individuals when they experience difficulties. Expressing gratitude can also help individuals be more compassionate toward themselves during challenging periods.
Studies show that people who show gratitude are more likely to thrive. We know that students who are more engaged with the University of Arizona community, and have connected with another University of Arizona community member feel a stronger sense of belonging, and are more likely to succeed at the University of Arizona. We want the University of Arizona to be a community where everyone can create connections to peers and colleagues.
Watch An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness
Ways to express gratitude
- Weekly gratitude & kindness
- We developed a calendar of gratitude related questions and acts of kindness that you can add to your own calendar. This calendar can be a reminder to think about gratitude or your impact on those around you. Download the Calendar File or from your University of Arizona calendar add the email@example.com calendar.
- The Gratitude Project
- Send notes of thanks to University of Arizona Community Members
- Kindness Rocks
- Create rocks with positive messages to leave around campus. Check the calendar for upcoming dates.
- UA Gratitude on Instagram
- Follow UAGratitude on Instagram for weekly prompts on gratitude and highlights from the Gratitude Project.
The Gratitude Project
The Gratitude Project began in Fall 2018 and allowed University of Arizona students, staff and faculty to send a personalized card or email to another Arizona student, staff or faculty member. Individuals are asked to identify those who had a positive impact during the current year or semester, or at any point in their time at the institution. We have sent more than 5,000 notes of thanks.
You can now participate in the Gratitude Project year round by sending the notes of thanks throughout the entire year or by adding our gratitude calendar to your own personal calendar.
“Thank you for making Spanish so much fun this semester. I was originally going to take 205 in the summer but I’m glad I didn’t and took it this semester. You are the best instructor I’ve ever had! Not only because you teach the material good but because you keep us all engaged as well. You make learning fun! For that, I am grateful. This is my last semester as an undergrad at the U of A, so I hope you know that this will be a semester I’ll never forget. A class I’ll never forget. An instructor I’ll never forget. ¡Mil gracias! “
More than 5,000 notes of gratitude have been sent in the past 4 years.
Show your gratitude today!
“Thank you for helping me with my career. I have learned so much from you this past year. I never thought just a simple research paper I needed help on my freshman year would lead to where I am now. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to be apart of class. I met some of the best people in that class and I am so sad it has now ended. Learning everything I did so far has been an amazing experience and I can’t wait to keep learning. Thanks for your support and I will keep u updated on my plan!”
The gratitude project typically sends cards/emails beginning in the last 3 weeks of each semester and then 1-2 weeks following each semester.
If there is interest The Gratitude Project will send cards/emails year round.
Absolutely! Please do!
Thank people and show your appreciation for them often. However, we want to be able to help you facilitate that if you need us.
There is no limit on the number that you can send (particularly when we are doing emails).
We need some identifying information in case folks have similar names. Thanks so much!
Absolutely! We would love for you to share the Gratitude Project across the University of Arizona. If you would like a sample email to send or any other information (Insta stories or posts) please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, you can submit an anonymous thank you. These will be reviewed to make sure they are appropriate to send.
The staff of Student Success & Retention Innovation reads each submission and then sends the submission. The staff read them to make sure that they are notes of gratitude.
Hi there! Putting a thank you into words can be difficult. We can insert a simple message saying that someone has been positively impacted by the recipient. Just leave the message portion of the submission blank.