Gratitude Makes You Empathetic

By Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kindly, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge. (Pyschology Today,


If you’re grateful, you have greater peace of mind. You’re not envious. You’re not looking to retaliate for supposed wrongs.

More studies than the one mentioned in Psychology Today  point to the fact that thankful people behave in a more prosocial manner.
  1. They tend to engage in altruistic activities.
  2. They appreciate other people.
  3. They have positive social comparisons.
  4. They are less likely to try to get back at others for perceived slights.

By a long shot, this is not a complete list. But almost from the time man became philosophical, she’s studied the benefits of thankfulness.


So on this day: for what are you grateful? Me–

  1. Little gifts given at Christmas–M&Ms, a tree ornament or a white elephant. It tells me others thought about me and cared enough to gift me.
  2. Hugs from friends. Nothing compares to human touch. A hug tells me I’m more than an acquaintance. It says, “I want to be close to you.”
  3. The ability to smile. Try it. Smile for no reason (you may want to do it while no one’s around, so you don’t look silly). When I smile, my whole attitude changes.
  4. Friends who have gone through similar situations as I have. Death, debilitation of loved ones, loneliness, feelings of inadequacies…whatever. They know how to encourage me, and I realize I am not alone.
  5. The written history of my faith. It keeps it alive and fresh for me. It encourages me and enables me to be the better version of myself.

Life is short. The older you get, the more this will become real. Why waste it being miserable and ungrateful. You may not have everything you want–but that keeps you from being bored with life.




  1. vera deford says:

    so very true – being grateful brings joy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.