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Gratitude – Part 3

 

Why don’t you try what Berlin suggests in his song, count your blessings.  Use the following exercise over the next two weeks and see if your satisfaction with life and general happiness improve.  The exercise is taken from Martin Seligman’s research on positive psychology that is summarized in his book, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment (2002).

GRATITUDE EXERCISE 1

 Set aside five free minutes each night for the next two weeks, preferably right before brushing your teeth for bed.  Prepare a pad with one page for each of the next fourteen days.  The first night, take the Satisfaction with Life Scale and the General Happiness Scale and score them.  Then think back over the previous twenty-four hours and write down, on separate lines, up to five things in your life you are grateful or thankful for.  Common examples include “waking up this morning,” the generosity of friends,” God for giving me determination,” “wonderful parents,” “robust good health,” and the “Rolling Stones” (or some other artistic inspiration).  Repeat the Life Satisfaction and General happiness Scales on the final night, two weeks after you start, and compare your scores to the first night’s scores.  If this worked for you, incorporate it into your nightly routine.

GENERAL HAPPINESS SCALE

 For each of the following statements and/or questions, please circle the point on the scale that you feel is most appropriate in describing you.

 1. In general I consider myself:

 1                      2                      3                      4                      5                      6                      7

Not a very                                                                                                                A veryhappy

  happy person                                                                                                            person

 2. Compared to most of my peers, I consider myself:

 1                      2                      3                      4                      5                      6                      7

 Less happy                                                                                                              More happy

 3. Some people are generally very happy.  They enjoy life regardless of what is going on, getting the most out of everything.  To what extent does this characterization describe you?

 1                      2                      3                      4                      5                      6                      7

 Not at all                                                                                                                   A great deal

 4. Some people are generally not very happy.  Although they are not depressed , they never seem as happy as they might be.  To what extent does this characterization describe you?

 1                      2                      3                      4                      5                      6                      7

 A great deal                                                                                                             Not at all

 Scoring instructions

 To score the test, total your answers for the questions and divide by 4.  The mean for adult Americans is 4.8.  Two-thirds of people score between 3.8 and 5.8.

 

SATISFACTION WITH LIFE SCALE

 

Below are five statements that you may agree or disagree with.  Using the 1-7 scale below, indicate your agreement with each item by placing the appropriate number on the line receding that item.

1 = Strongly disagree

2 = Disagree

3 = Slightly disagree

4 = Neither agree nor disagree

5 = Slightly agree

6 = Agree

7 = Strongly agree

 ___     In most ways my life is close to my ideal.

 ___     The conditions of my life are excellent.

 ___     I am completely satisfied with my life.

 ___     So far, I have gotten the important things I want in my life.

 ___     If I could live my life over, I would change nothing.

 Scores 

30-35 Extremely satisfied, much above average

25-29 Very satisfied, above average

20-24 Somewhat satisfied, average for American adults

15-19 Slightly dissatisfied, a bit below average

10-14 Dissatisfied, clearly below average

5-9      Very dissatisfied, much below average

Posted in Gratitude on 5 December 2009
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