ERIC Number: EJ1049391
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Documenting Gratitude as a Practice in Positive Scholarship
Franks, Tara M.
Communication Teacher, v29 n1 p32-36 2015
As an emerging interest area, positive communication scholarship focuses on issues of happiness and well-being in a variety of social contexts. Borrowing from positive psychology and happiness literature (Lyubomirsky, 2008), positive communication research explores expressions of gratitude, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, as well as issues of social support and work-life balance from both theoretical and applied perspectives toward the development of communication theory (Floyd, 2002; Gavin & Mason, 2004; Greenhaus, Ziegert, & Allen, 2012; Kirby, 2006; Lyubomirsky, 2008; Miller, 2007; Way & Tracy, 2012). Gratitude research in particular has largely focused on the benefits of expressing gratitude and found several rewards, both for the receiver and the sender of gratitude. These benefits include increased happiness, self-worth and self-esteem, as well as increased pride and trust in others. Health communication scholars have also found several health benefits to the act of expressing gratitude, such as the ability to alleviate one's own feelings of stress and decreased depression (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Lyubomirsky, 2008). In addition, positive communication scholars know that acts of kindness and expressions of gratitude are socially contagious, such that one good deed leads to the spread of future good deeds, thus fostering positive interpersonal relationships that benefit members of one's network/community (Bonon & Froh, 2009). Taking an ontological approach to the study of positive scholarship, this activity provides students with an opportunity to experience the aforementioned benefits as they write through their expressions and experience of shared gratitude--a practice in "doing and being" positive communication scholarship. Students will be able to engage actively in, and experience the benefits of, positive communication by documenting their experiences of shared gratitude via social media posts and journal writing. Throughout this process, students will learn about the epistemological and ontological benefits of applied positive communication concepts. This activity is best conducted over the course of one to two weeks, and after the students have read/discussed communication concepts such as gratitude and well-being, communication and affection, and work-life balance.
Descriptors: Psychological Patterns, Interpersonal Communication, Communication Strategies, Social Networks, Electronic Publishing, Journal Writing, Computer Mediated Communication, Well Being, Learning Activities, Epistemology, College Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A