Each semester students in Michael Bugeja’s media ethics class earn extra credit by participating in an experiment—contacting a loved one, family member, mentor or friend and expressing gratitude. You can read a published article about past gratitude experiments by clicking here.
The purpose of the exercise is to instill in students the means to raise their own happiness quotient. Gratitude typically gladdens us along with the person to whom we express our feelings.
Few people take the time to thank a person who played a big role in their lives. It could be a teacher. A parent. A friend.
Students are told that they can increase their happiness multifold by writing a gratitude letter and then reading it to a cherished person, preferably in person or via telephone or facetime.
After the call, they record their own feelings.
Here are the data from the Fall 2022 media ethics class:
|7 participants reported a positive experience and increase in mood after the exercise.|
9 participants reported feeling more relaxed or having a weight lifted off of them.
9 participants felt thankful or appreciative of the experiment.
3 participants reported wanting to do this more.
Gratitude Experiment Coded Responses:
1: Surprised by the increase in happiness
2: Array of emotions, thankful, joy, beneficial
3: Understanding, nonjudgement, love, warmth4: Lucky, happier, warm, complete, happier
5: Peace of mind, happy6: Joyful, comforted, better mood
7: Comfortable, happiness
8: Uplifting, refreshing, felt better, happier
9: Felt good, feel happier, a boost of energy
10: Increased happiness, positivity, thankfulness
11: Emotional, felt good, sad it wasn’t in person
12: Incredible, really happy, felt joy
13: Happiness, increased mood
14: Increased happiness, hope, incredibly happy
15: Brought peace, uplifting, boosted happiness
16: Appreciative, happier
17: Calming effect, overwhelming happiness
18: Satisfied, happy, glad
19: Warm, fulfilled
20: Thankful, glad, closer to spouse
21: Uplifted, happier
22: Thankful, grateful
23: Felt good, day got better
24: Felt good, need to do this more
25: Wonderful feeling, going to do more often
26: Felt good
27: Overwhelmingly happy, uplifted
28: Felt very good, increased happiness
29: Rush of adrenaline, significantly happier, joy
30: Emotional, huge weight lifted
31: Emotional, relived, grateful
32: Better vibe, relaxed, happier
33: Joyful, happier mood
34: Uplifting feeling, inner peace, internal security
35: Lifted weight
36: Happier, lifted spirits
37: Felt really good, uplifting, increased happiness