The holiday season is upon us again! With plenty of family, friends, and food to go around, it’s easy for many of us to feel thankful for what we have. For others, unfortunately, it might not be the same. That’s why now is a better time than ever to consider lending a helping hand to those who are less fortunate. They might be bogged down by bills, a long work schedule, or not have the resources to be able to have a bountiful Thanksgiving.
Of course, giving is an amazing way that we can make a world of a difference for others around the holidays. Yet with so much already going towards your own celebrations and gifts, it might not be a priority to give. But what if you discovered that being grateful can lead to you becoming a more positive person? Keep reading to find out how having just a little more gratitude can make you a happier and more positive person.
States vs. Traits
Let’s first examine two important words which are similar yet very different: “state” and “trait.” According to Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus of Psychology Today, “A state is a temporary way of being.” These are essentially the feelings and emotions we have from minute to minute throughout our life. On the other hand, Dr. Lazarus says “A trait tends to be a more stable and enduring characteristic or pattern of behavior.” In other words, traits are the features of a person that are much more long-term and longstanding.
Let’s put these two ideas into context. A person you know might usually be easy-going and relaxed. But when he/she is about to board a roller coaster, he/she begins to become very nervous and scared. This doesn’t make him/her an inherently fearful person. It would be more apt to say that he/she is a confident person (trait) who happens to feel scared (state) when getting ready to ride a roller coaster. Thus, “state” and “trait” are two different terms that both describe different aspects of us as people. With that said, these two phrases can still be very interconnected, especially when it comes to having a good mental attitude.
States Become Traits
Connecting your states to your traits is possible! An article published in the Journal of Personality demonstrates this connection. Researchers took two groups of around one hundred and fifty people and measured components of their personalities, like openness and agreeableness (their traits), alongside their behavior and experiences in their day-to-day life (their states). What they discovered was that there is a strong correlation between these aspects. People who had more positive experiences were more open, more agreeable, more emotionally stable, and generally had a good mental attitude. To simplify, feeling satisfied and fulfilled about yourself in the short term can lead to your personality being more positive in the long run.
So now let’s put all of that into context. If you experience a daily life filled with joy and gratitude, this will create a sort of domino effect. You will not only feel happy and positive, but this positive state will begin to shape your personality as well. You will be more friendly, of a more sound mind, and generally more pleasant, creating the aforementioned good mental attitude.
Your Childhood States vs. Your Adult Traits
Now imagine you go through life without feeling satisfied or confident. This can be just as effective in shaping your personality into adulthood. Research has proven that stressful and traumatic upbringings for children can change the way the brains of young people become organized. This can negatively alter the way that these children grow up and behave in the future. People with difficult childhoods can become closed off, less resilient, more disagreeable, and generally more dissatisfied with life. And that easily leads to them becoming more negative and not having a good mental attitude.
Sadly, this is not an uncommon situation that many children today experience. And with an education system that underserves many promising young people today, it can seem very tough for these children to rise up on their own and be able to reach their full potential. According to OECD, students who don’t end up graduating from high school are far more likely to achieve lower lifetime earnings, more likely to fall into unemployment, and less likely to participate in democracy. This all goes to show that your state over time, either bad or good, can affect who you become in the long term.
Solving Two Problems at Once
Want to make yourself a happier, more positive person while also helping those in need? Consider donating to Educate. Radiate. Elevate. Our highly qualified tutors aim to not only lift up students’ grades, but also to instill in them important life skills such as leadership, confidence, metacognition, and more. In doing this, we hope to give them the academic toolset and good mental attitude that will reshape these less fortunate students into the future leaders of our world. By donating and helping out our cause, those good feelings of helping others can help you become a happier individual – all while giving others a chance to be just as happy. It truly is a win-win situation!
For some of us, there’s much to be thankful for around the holiday season. For others, that is not the case. Through the power of giving, you can achieve a good mental attitude and help others at the same time. By understanding the relationship between states (your attitude and emotions) and traits (your personality and characteristics), you can begin to become a happier person through the power of gratitude.
However, the same can be said for the opposite scenario. Children growing up in poor conditions can have the structure of their brain altered. This can potentially leave them with a long-lasting negative mental attitude. If you would like to both reach a good mental attitude while also changing the lives of the future generation, donate to Educate. Radiate. Elevate., and give a young person a chance they may not otherwise have.