by Amelia Haynes, originally published by Korn Ferry Institute
Do you know that feeling you get when a stranger holds the door for you? Or when your partner surprises you with a gift? Or when your coworker offers to take something off your plate during a busy week?
From these experiences, we know gratitude as that warm fuzzy feeling we get when we reflect on something or someone we appreciate. Scientists, who have looked at gratitude a little more closely, define it much in the same way, but with a bit more specificity. In concrete terms, gratitude is the feeling a person gets when they receive something, like a gift or a benefit. The feeling is often directed at the source of the gift, and the gift is not necessarily deserved or earned. Explaining gratitude in these terms can make the feeling seem stale and uninspired, but under this cool scientific exterior is actually a rich history of warmth and camaraderie—and a lot of what we think of as the unique humanity of human beings.