Gratitude ~ the emotion of thankfulness and joy in response to receiving a perceived gift ~ is an essential ingredient for living a good life. And when it comes to achieving this well-being, gender plays a role. It seems men are much less likely to feel and express gratitude than women.
So says Todd Kashdan, an associate professor of psychology at George Mason University, whose most recent paper was published online this week at the Journal of Personality. Kashdan says that if he had to name three elements essential for creating happiness and meaning in life they would be:
- Meaningful relationships
- Living in the present moment with an attitude of openness and curiosity.
In one study, Kashdan interviewed college-aged students and older adults, asking them to describe and evaluate a recent episode in which they received a gift. He found that:
- Women compared with men reported feeling less burden and obligation and greater levels of gratitude when presented with gifts.
- Older men reported greater negative emotions when the gift giver was another man.
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