Academic Minute
5:00 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Dr. Jeffrey Froh, Hofstra University - The Benefits of Gratitude

The feeling of gratitude can positively influence all the other factors of one's life.

Dr. Jeffrey Froh, associated professor of psychology at Hofstra University, is studying the far reaching effects that gratitude has on children.

Dr. Jeffrey Froh focuses his research on the connection between personality psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology. He writes extensively on topics related to these fields and continues to publish books & articles that focus on the effects of gratitude. His book Making Grateful Kids (co-authored with Giacomo Bono) came out in 2013. He earned his doctorate in psychology from St. John's University in 2004.

About Dr. Froh

Dr. Jeffrey Froh - The Benefits of Gratitude

If there was a new wonder drug on the market that got kids to behave better, improve their grades, feel happier, and avoid risky behaviors, many parents around the world would be willing to empty their bank accounts to acquire it. Amazingly, such a product does exist. It's not regulated by the FDA, and it's free and avail­able to anyone at any time. This miracle cure is gratitude.

Science has shown that gratitude is one of the most valuable and important emotions we possess. Research indicates that grateful kids are more generous and connected to their neighborhoods and communities, have more satisfying relationships with their family and friends, and have more self-discipline. Gratitude is a virtue that anyone can cultivate. In fact, my colleagues and I have developed many different methods people can use to foster an attitude of gratitude, and the science shows that many of them really work.

This is especially important for kids in today's world because of the ever-increasing use of technology, especially smart phones. Kids are bombarded by messages from the media about how to act, how to dress, what to buy, how to spend their time…in short, who to be. These messages rob kids of their authenticity, resulting in missed opportunities to become more grateful. When limits aren't set, technology takes kids out of the present moment, not allowing them to be mindful of what they're doing and who they're with. And by being somewhere else, such as checking Facebook for the 100th time in a day instead of really listening to friends share good news or vent about a conflict they're having, kids are unable to extract the goodness from an interaction or experience.

With patience and persistence, adults can make kids more grateful. And when they do, they will experience the transformative powers of gratitude.

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