|[December 12, 2012]
How to Cultivate the Good in Your Life? Americans Say "Be Grateful"
NEW YORK --(Business Wire)--
With the holiday season upon us, Americans believe gratitude is one of
the most important values parents can instill in their children along
with kindness, compassion and manners - far outpacing chores, sports and
even reading. However, a large majority (89%) feel that society is
becoming so concerned with success that we are forgetting about what is
truly important, and that people are becoming more selfish (86%),
raising potential red flags for the future.
The latest Keep Good Going Report, sponsored by New York
Life, asked respondents to rate the importance of various lessons
Americans can impart to their children. The report revealed this ranking:
Percentage of Americans Who Say it is Extremely Important To:
Teach children to be kind and compassionate - 74%
Instill good manners in children - 74%
Teach children to be grateful and appreciative - 72%
Teach children good financial habits - 59%
Read to their children - 59%
Give children household chores - 46%
Encourage children to play a sport or instrument - 28%
Notably, the leading values of kindness, manners and gratitude were
common across all age groups, from the Silent Generation to Generation
Y. Even further, Americans are practicing what they preach when it comes
to the importance of expressing gratitude. Four in five respondents
(81%) say that they often take the time to sincerely thank someone or
express appreciation. This topped the list of actions commonly viewed as
good and was well ahead of recycling (72%), letting someone merge into
traffic ahead of you (68%), visiting a local, independent retailer
(56%), or going on a "date night" with your spouse or significant other
"Whether you're 18 or 80, values like kindness and generosity are common
across generations," said Dr. Christine Carter, author of Raising
Happiness, sociologist at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center,
and independent consultant to New York Life. "But Americans are
articulating serious concerns that these values may be getting lost or
overwhelmed in today's society. The good news is that there are many
ways to consciously practice gratitude, which can pay long-term
dividends eyond simply the good feeling that comes from saying thank
"We commissioned this research to gain a better understanding of what
Americans value and how they are perpetuating good in their lives," said
Liz McCarthy, senior vice president and head of Corporate
Communications, New York Life. "It's heartening to see timeless values
like gratitude and compassion rise to the top of the list, which bodes
well for the future even as society wrestles with real challenges."
Expert Offers Advice for Cultivating Gratitude
To live a good life, Americans clearly believe in being grateful and
teaching children the importance of gratitude, but the report points out
concerns that society may be on the wrong track. Like the general
population, parents of children under age 18, who are in the midst of
instilling the values that their children will take into the future,
feel strongly that society is overly concerned about success (90%) and
that people are becoming more selfish (86%).
"A powerful way to move away from a self-centered focus on success is to
refocus ourselves and our children on what we are grateful for," said
Dr. Carter. "Gratitude is foundational for our happiness and well-being,
and it is easy and rewarding to practice. Many people are surprised to
hear that gratitude, or thankfulness, is actually a skill that we can
teach and practice with our children."
Some of Dr. Carter's tips for fostering gratitude in families this
holiday season include:
Use the holidays as a time to give thanks for people in your life.
Before a holiday meal, make construction paper place cards for each
guest and ask everyone to set aside time to write on the inside of
each place card something that they love or appreciate about that
Consciously weave gratitude into your daily interactions, using the
common question "How are you " as a prompt to reflect on something for
which you are grateful. Then share that thought with the other person,
or just keep it to yourself if you're feeling shy.
Create a gratitude garland. Hang a ribbon in a doorway, and put a
basket of colored paper squares below it, with pens and clothes pins.
When guests and family members enter that room, ask them to write
something they feel grateful for and hang it up.
For more tips and information from Dr. Carter, please visit newyorklife.com/keepgoodgoing.
The Keep Good Going Report survey was sponsored by New
York Life and conducted online by Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Inc.,
in August 2012, among 2,069 individuals age 21 or older.
About New York Life
Committed to helping people perpetuate the good in their lives, New York
Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is
the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States* and one
of the largest life insurers in the world. New York Life has the highest
financial strength ratings currently awarded to any life insurer by all
four of the major credit rating agencies.** Headquartered in New York
City, New York Life's family of companies offers life insurance,
retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. Please
visit New York Life's Web site at www.newyorklife.com/keepgoodgoing
for more information.
*Based on revenue as reported by "Fortune 500 ranked within
Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual)," Fortune magazine,
May 21, 2012. See http://www.money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2012/faq/
**Source (News - Alert): Third-party ratings reports as of 6/22/12.
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