You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Opinion

David DeSteno

Gratitude pays big dividends

The season to pause and give thanks is at hand. As we prepare to gather around hearth and table, some may hold a resigned sense that though they’ll go through the motions and say the right things — the things you’re supposed to say at Thanksgiving — they might not truly feel gratitude in their hearts. It’s like saying “I’m happy for you” to someone who just got the job you wanted. The words and the feelings just don’t match.

This disconnect is unfortunate. It comes from a somewhat misguided view that gratitude is all about looking backward — back to what has already been. But in reality, that’s not how gratitude truly works. At a functional level, it’s not about passive reflection; it’s about building resilience. It’s not about being thankful for things that have already occurred and, thus, can’t be changed; it’s about ensuring the benefits of what comes next. It’s about making sure that tomorrow, and the day after, you will have something to be grateful for.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week