My original intent for the blog was to focus on gratitude and other qualities like: empathy, compassion, peace, forgiveness, awe and wonder, qualities I want to cultivate within myself and see more of in the world at large. Then, we had an election — that left me gobsmacked. Isn’t that a great word – gobsmacked? It means to be utterly astonished, astounded. Sounds about right.
But, now it’s time to return to gratitude. Just typing the word, I sigh, my shoulders drop from up around my ears, and the door on my heart creaks open (I must remember to oil that rusty hinge).
Isn’t that amazing – the physicality of gratitude? Quite a powerful energy around gratitude, for sure. I’ll take more of that, please.
Before I embark on posts exploring the breadth and depth of gratitude, it might be helpful to establish a working definition. I blow dust off my worn Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary with the cracked binding, and carefully turn the fragile tissue-paper pages until I alight on page 365, which lists gratitude in between gratis and gratuitous. Webster unhelpfully defines gratitude thusly: “the state of being grateful.” I flip to grateful, from the Latin gratus – and definition 1a says, “appreciative of benefits received.”
Feels lifeless and academic, so I set the dictionary aside, and on-line stumble across the work of Robert Emmons, Ph.D., a leading expert on gratitude. He is a prof at UC Davis, the founding editor of The Journal of Positive Psychology and the author of several books on gratitude. Emmons, AKA “the gratitude guy,” says gratitude is an emotion with two key components. One: “It’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.” Two: “We recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves,” and can arise from a variety of places, human and divine.
Now, you’re talking — that’s a definition with sparks coming out of its butt.
Before I blather on in subsequent posts about gratitude in some form (day-to-day anecdotes, assessments, ways to cultivate, survey results, newspaper articles, quotes, poetry, etc.), I thought it might be fun to post this short questionnaire, so you can get an idea about how grateful you are compared to others.
The Gratitude Questionnaire-Six Item Form (GQ-6)
Using the scale below as a guide, write a number beside each statement to indicate how much you agree with it. 1 = strongly disagree 2 = disagree 3 = slightly disagree 4 = neutral 5 = slightly agree 6 = agree 7 = strongly agree
____1. I have so much in life to be thankful for.
____2. If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list.
____3. When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for.*
____4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people.
____5. As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history.
____6. Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.*
- Add up your scores for items 1, 2, 4, and 5.
- *Reverse your scores for items 3 and 6. That is, if you scored a “7,” give yourself a “1,” if you scored a “6,” give yourself a “2,” etc.
- Add the reversed scores for items 3 and 6 to the total from Step 1. This is your total GQ-6 score. This number should be between 6 and 42.
Based on a sample of 1,224 adults who took the GQ-6 as part of a feature on the Spirituality and Health website, here are some benchmarks for making sense of your score.
25th Percentile: Someone who scored a 35 out of 42 on the GQ-6 scored higher than 25% of the people who took it. If you scored below a 35, then you are in the bottom one-fourth of the sample of Spirituality and Health visitors in terms of gratitude.
50th Percentile: Someone who scored a 38 out of 42 on the GQ-6 scored higher than 50% of the people who took it. If you scored below a 38, then you are in the bottom one-half of people who took the survey.
75th Percentile: Someone who scored a 41 out of 42 on the GQ-6 scored higher than 75% of the individuals who took the GQ-6 on the Spirituality and Health website.
If you scored a 42 or higher, then you scored among the top 13% of our Spirituality and Health Sample.
Reader Invitation: How did you score? Was it a surprise? I would love to hear how you scored if you feel comfortable sharing the information either in the comment section or by e-mail at email@example.com.
I will generally reply to your comments within 24 hours.
The Gratitude Assessment was published in a scientific journal for use in the public domain. You do not need to contact any of the authors for permission to use these scales in non-commercial research. You may not use the scales for commercial purposes without permission.
The Greater Good Science Center