Can Gratitude Help You Live More Sustainably?

New research from Northeastern University suggests that when people feel grateful for what they have, they’re less likely to overdraw from a shrinking pool of resources. The study “provides initial evidence that gratitude is useful in nudging sustainable behavior,” says graduate student Shanyu Kates, the paper’s first author. Kates’s findings suggest that practicing gratitude could curb our collective tendency to take more than our share, says psychologist Scott Allison of the University of Richmond. “Gratitude led to less greedy and more generous choices,” says Allison, who was not involved in the research. “What’s really impressive is how the investigators were able to demonstrate that it was gratitude itself, not the happiness that results from gratitude, which produces more prosocial [kind and helpful] behavior.”

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