The holiday season is a time of gratitude. But what is gratitude? And why is it important?
Gratitude is the feeling of appreciation. It’s being thankful for what you have. Practicing gratitude is important. It can help you feel better in many ways.
Andrea Hussong is a scientist. She works at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has found that gratitude helps kids understand their connection to others. “Gratitude connects us to other people in the world,” Hussong says. “If we’re able to express gratitude to other people, we feel connected to them.”
Gratitude helps us notice what we have. These are things we might not always appreciate. Food, clothing, and a place to sleep at night are examples of these. Noticing these helps us understand that we should be thankful to the people around us. They provide us with these things.
Gratitude also helps us notice what other people don’t have. We see that some people have less than we do. This helps us understand them. It connects us to them.
Benefits of Gratitude
Hussong says connecting to others is important, especially for kids. Gratitude leads to “better social skills, well-being, and positive mental health,” she says.
Hussong has some advice about how to practice gratitude. “Take time to see the world in someone else’s shoes,” she says. “And ask yourself how they feel.”
Emily Bhatnagar started a book drive called For Love & Buttercup. She was grateful for the doctors and nurses who helped her dad when he was sick. She collected books for people who were in the hospital. “The idea came from just overwhelming gratitude,” she says. So far, she has collected more than 10,000 books. —Cristina Fernandez