We often report on the connections between gratitude and happiness—our very own Christine Carter has suggested that the two are so closely related that they’re practically synonymous.
But in a new essay he wrote for the John Templeton Foundation‘s Big Questions Online series, Robert Emmons argues that we sell gratitude short when we see it strictly as a happiness booster—it’s a lot more important than that.
“Gratitude is the adhesive that binds members of society together,” he writes. “Gratitude is a morally complex disposition, and reducing this virtue to a technique or strategy to improve one’s mood is to do it an injustice.”
You can read the complete essay, including Emmons’ suggestions for cultivating gratitude, here.
And for more on gratitude, check out our Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude project, of which Emmons is the co-director.