The science of gratitude has been prominent across the U.S. during the Thanksgiving season, receiving a boost from a new survey supported by the John Templeton Foundation. The survey found that on Thanksgiving, “people are happy to watch football and parades or eat until they’re more stuffed than the turkey. But they’re not as good at using the day to express gratitude,” explains Janice Kaplan, a Foundation grantee and author of The Gratitude Diaries.
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When Sir John Templeton set out to fulfill his philanthropic vision, he opened the door not only to the science behind giving and gratitude as distinct virtues, but also to the cyclic relationship between the two. “Thanksgiving leads to giving, and to spiritual growth,” he pointedly wrote. This innate connection is examined in a new book, The Giving Way to Happiness, a collection of stories and reflections on giving and gratitude alongside the growing body of science—much of which has been the result of funding from the John Templeton Foundation.
A new website and initiative from the John Templeton Foundation intends to help increase the spiral of gratitude. ElementofGratitude.org aims to put the ancient insight and scientific evidence into practice by demonstrating that gratitude and thankfulness do indeed lead to giving, and vice versa. The goal of the site is to start a chain reaction across the internet, an online manifestation of the gratitude spiral.