Personal Growth

See How Your Gratitude Stacks Up With This Gratitude Survey

Maybe you feel like you've got the world on a string. Maybe you've got lots of friends to support you, a secure job that you enjoy, and the sheer good luck to have been born at the same time that is around. Or maybe you're feeling lonely and stuck, and you don't have easy internet access. Whichever person sounds more like you, you probably have some sense of how much gratitude you feel. But how do you stack up to others? Learn about the benefits of gratitude, then scroll down to take a science-backed gratitude survey and find out.

Benefits of Thankfulness

In Healthbeat from Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. Harvey Simon described two different studies that showed some distinct medical benefits of intentionally being more thankful. In one study, participants were asked to journal about their days: some to note only the things that irritated them, some the things that they were grateful for, and some, just the things that affected them the most. Of those three groups, only those focused on what they were grateful for reported greater feelings of optimism after 10 weeks — and surprisingly, they also reported fewer trips to the doctor. Another study tested participants with several different positivity-boosting writing exercises. When the assignment was to write a letter of thanks to somebody they felt had not been given their proper due, the participants demonstrated an immediate boost to their happiness scores. It was greater than the effects of any of their other exercises.

If you feel physically and mentally exhausted and are awash in negative moods, it could be worthwhile to open your eyes to the positivity that you might be missing. Even if you're just thankful for small blessings — a coffee brought by a coworker, a long streak of green lights, a bounty of samples at the grocery store — it can have a major impact on your health.

The Indebtedness Inventory

To find out how your gratitude stacks up, try your hand at this gratitude survey from the University of Pennsylvania (you'll need to create a free account, but it's a quick process, and there's no junk mail involved). Just be aware that there's not an "appropriate" amount of gratefulness that sets the standard for what everyone should feel. Some people are born with a silver spoon in hand; others are lucky to get a rusty fork. All that is to say that you shouldn't get too down on yourself if you turn out to have a bit less gratitude than others. Sure, you might be overlooking some of the good things in your life (and it never hurts to double-check that every once in a while), but you could also be going through a tough time right now. Try to go easy on yourself.

All that aside, the quiz itself is a breeze to take. Seriously, you'll be done in a matter of seconds. However, this quiz will only tell you how your gratitude stacks up against everyone else's — it won't tell you how much gratitude you have. You'll have to look inside and answer that question for yourself. Once you've filled out your answers, you'll be given a percentile score based on the answers of everyone else who took the quiz, plus more specific rankings for your demographics such as gender, occupation, and education level.

Of course, if you don't feel the need to know your specific ranking among the grateful and ungrateful, you could always just take the quiz on your own and use your answers to re-examine your ways of thinking. Here are the questions in full — just answer each on a seven-point scale where "1" is "strongly disagree" and "7" is "strongly agree."

1. I have so much in life to be thankful for.

2. If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list.

3. When I look at the world, I don't see much to be grateful for.

4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people.

5. As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history.

6. Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.

So, how did you do? Whether you were in the 19th percentile or the 90th, you probably learned something about yourself. And while we'd never suggest you are or aren't grateful enough, this might be some food for thought. Just remember, even if you're going through hard times, it's always helpful to take a moment to meditate on what's good in your life as well.

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Oliver Sacks was one of the world's best-loved science writers, but "Gratitude," written in the last few months of his life, is more notable for pulling heartstrings than explaining the brain. Order it with your trial membership to Audible and you'll get it for free. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Written by Reuben Westmaas September 7, 2018

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