Research Paper By Alfreda McCray
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
Sharing Gratitude: Perspective Shifter, Mood Lifter, Connection Builder
This paper provides the results of a longitudinal study conducted to collect thoughts, sentiments, and experiences from among a small group of individuals committed to creating and sharing a daily gratitude practice. This practice consists of creating and emailing ten things to be grateful for each day to the individuals in the group. The findings in the study are based upon survey data taken from the years 2011 and 2015 respectively.
Qualitative responses were analyzed using text analysis and data visualization tools1. The results are in the form of word collage images generated using word counts and frequency. Quantitative data shows the comparison of data points between years as well as the cumulative averages over time.
The findings are not conclusive nor intended to make any scientific claim, however they do provide insight from observation, personal account, and narrative into the experiences of participants who regularly create and share their gratitude practice. Lastly, coaching applications are discussed to explore opportunities for using gratitude practices in both a self-coaching and client-coach partnership.
Gratitude is recognizing and acknowledging the gifts we are given, either by other people, God, or by life itself (Neff, 2011, p. 277)
Dr. Kirsten Neff, author of the book Self Compassion, attributes the above definition to Richard Emmons, scholar and authority on the subject. For the purposes of this paper, it will serve as the working definition to describe the application of gratitude for the study.
About the practice
I was introduced to the practice of sharing gratitude lists by my very first coach in 2007. She conducted a group coaching workshop and as a part of the cohort, we created and shared our gratitudes or wins during and in between our coaching sessions. I was pretty much hooked after that.