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It's the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships
Date:5/23/2010

Chapel Hill (University of North Carolina), NCOur busy lives sometimes feel like they are spinning out of control, and we lose track of the little things we can do to add meaning to our lives and make our loved ones feel appreciated. A new article in Personal Relationships points the way to the methods of gratitude we can use to give a boost to our romantic relationships, and help us achieve and maintain satisfaction with our partners.

Humans are interdependent, with people doing things for each other all the time. Simply because a person does something for another does not mean that the emotion of gratitude will be felt. In addition to the possibility of not even noticing the kind gesture, one could have many different reactions to receiving a benefit from someone else, including gratitude, resentment, misunderstood, or indebtedness.

Positive thinking has been shown to have a longstanding constructive effect on our emotional life. Extending these positive emotions and gratitude to our romantic partners can increase the benefit of positive thinking tenfold, say the authors of this new study. Lead author Dr. Sara Algoe says, "Feelings of gratitude and generosity are helpful in solidifying our relationships with people we care about, and benefit to the one giving as well as the one on the receiving end." The authors propose that the emotion of gratitude is adaptive, and ultimately helps us to find, remind, and bind ourselves to people who seem to care about our welfare.

Events such as one partner planning a celebratory meal when the other partner gets a promotion, taking the children to the zoo so the other partner can have some quiet time, or stopping to pick up the other partner's favorite coffee drink are each examples of gratuitous behavior that could strengthen romantic relationships, if the recipient feels grateful in response.

The study authors chose to study over sixty-five couples who were already in ongoing, s
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Contact: Bethany Carland-Adams
scholarlynews@wiley.com
781-388-8509
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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