Gratitude as the Foundation for Joy

In: Journal of Youth and Theology
Robert A. EmmonsDepartment of Psychology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA,

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Marc AfsharChi Alpha Ministries, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA, USA,

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Joy and gratitude are two of the deepest touch points of human existence. Joy is a multi-faceted concept that is best thought of as an emotion-virtue composed of delight in that which is ultimately good. Gratitude is an affirmation of the good and a recognition of where that good is sourced. As self-transcendent, positive emotion dispositions at the heart of many religious and spiritual traditions, these qualities are key components of the flourishing life. Gratitude been object of serious study across many traditions for many centuries; joy has only recently become the focus of investigations in theology and in the human sciences. We explore the connection between the two, and with a special focus on youth thriving, we consider how gratitude practices can potentiate joy.

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