Word-Of-the-Week #695: Reciprocity

November 30, 2017 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #695: Reciprocity 

Reciprocity – what you receive as a result of what you give or do.

What goes around comes around! What you give out it is what you will get back. What message are you sending to the universe? One of giving or taking?

This is the second half of “Why gratitude is so good” by Arlene Dawson.

The importance of gratitude goes beyond a picture-perfect Thanksgiving tableau. Many experts believe that feeling grateful is also beneficial to your health.

“Gratitude is good medicine,” says Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis and founding editor in chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology. Studies show that practicing gratitude can be used to help lower blood pressure, stop smoking and reduce stress.

Here are her last 5 reasons why it’s beneficial to cultivate an attitude of gratitude year round, not just at Thanksgiving:

  1. Fosters a sense of community – The thread of life can unravel very quickly, so we need memories of how we’ve been supported and sustained by other people,” Emmons says. For instance, if a hospital took good care of your spouse, you may be motivated to donate money to help build a new cancer wing. “So much of life is about giving, receiving, repaying benefits; that’s why gratitude is so foundational and fundamental to human beings and to social life. … It’s a cycle of reciprocity.”
  1. Helps fend off depression – Practicing gratitude is linked to more resilience and optimism, Emmons says, recalling one study that found that counting blessings and “gratitude letter writing” reduced the risk of depression in patients by 41% over six months.
  1. Makes you a better spouse – Rather than focusing on “negative attributions” or what you don’t like about your mate, “Focus on what your partner is good at,” Emmons says. With any luck, that praise and affirmation might inspire him or her to improve other aspects of the relationship.
  1. Makes you a better boss and manager – Managers who express gratitude have more productive employees. In turn, “Grateful employees are better employees. They’re more engaged … more efficient,” Emmons says.
  1. Increases life satisfaction for kids – “The way you couch it to kids is: Be on the hunt for the good,” Froh says. “Kids who are grateful have better relationships growing up, increased happiness and life satisfaction, more emotional and social support, get higher grades, do better in school, are less envious and less materialistic.”

This week is all about the law of reciprocity. Who is the most supportive person in your life? Have you repaid the benefit of that? How often are you “on the hunt for the good?” Because the more you do that, the more “good things” will happen!

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Here are a few resources to help you get started on your gratitude journey:

Gratefulness.org, which was co-founded by Catholic Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast, now 91

–The popular TED talk “Want to be happy? Be grateful,” also by Steindl-Rast

–The Ted.com gratitude playlist

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley and its Greater Good magazine

–“Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier” by Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis


WOW Word-Of-the-Week #422: Reciprocity

September 5, 2012 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #422: Reciprocity 

Reciprocity – reciprocal action or relation.

Do you believe in the “Law of Reciprocity?” Do you believe that if you do a good deed the favor will be returned? Do you practice the Golden Rule?

I definitely believe in “Law of Reciprocity!” And I’ve had numerous experiences that validate my belief. In researching the definition I found this:

“ka me, ka thee” – do a good deed for another and the favor will be returned. This expression appeared in print as early as the mid-16th century. Scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours is a current analogous expression which like the proverbial Do unto others as you would have them do unto you implies reciprocity of service, flattery, or favors.

On this last trip the “Law of Reciprocity” was at work. We arrived in Barcelona late at night and stayed at an airport hotel. The following morning we took the shuttle back to the terminal to pick up our rental car. The driver took out our luggage plus an additional big suitcase and drove off. I looked around to see who else got off. There was no one else.

I told my husband Chris, “We can’t leave this. If it was our bag we’d have a stroke. This is ‘trip Karma.'”  I stayed with the big suitcase for over 20 minutes waiting for the next shuttle to come. I flagged the driver, he took the bag, and called the other driver to tell him.

Fast forward 15 days later – back in Barcelona at the Hertz office downtown next to the train station. While Chris was trying to hail a cab without much success, I turned away from our luggage (for 5 seconds) to ask where we could get a cab. When I turned back a man was lifting our backpack off the top of the suitcase handle. I yelled and he dropped it and kept on walking. That had my heart racing and put us “high theft alert.”

Then 3 weeks later driving into Sevilla the GPS takes us down these narrow, twisty, alleyways for roads. A man in a restaurant stops us and asks us where we are going. We tell him our hotel and he says, “I’ll take you there. Follow me on my bike.” He was my angel and I truly believe it was the “Law of Reciprocity” in action. What do you think? I wanted to thank him again and was going to try to backtrack on foot. Turns out “my angel” Joaquin was at the Flamenco Museum when we went for the show. I gave him 4 big cheek kisses and thanked him again!

This week’s focus is on reciprocity. Do you pay attention to the good deeds you do? When was the last time you experienced a reciprocal action? Do you pay attention to the good deeds done to you by others? Has it ever seemed coincidental?

Reader Responses

“Excellent, your word of the weeks are amazing and worth keeping as a source of knowledge. Keep it up. Regards” – Murtaza

“Your Law of Reciprocity reminds me of a similar phrase I have heard the last few years: “Pay it forward.” This is where we commit random acts of kindness without expecting anything in return. This unconditional giving is a big part of life. I learned a long time ago to do things for others because I wanted to do them, not because I was going to be paid back or get something in return. Thus, every day I do the little things for others, like opening doors, allowing others to go in front of me – especially in traffic – return smiles with smiles and eye contact with eye contact. But there are other little things, like remembering the birthdays and anniversaries of friends and family members. Once in a great while I will hear from someone to thank me for remembering their special day. But those times are few and far between. I may have mentioned in a previous post that years ago when I visited one of my best friends and his kids, I always brought his boys Hershey’s bars. When the younger boy was married last year, he told me that he always remembered that I brought candy to him. Actually, until he reminded me of that I had forgot about it. So, that small act was remembered years later. I have also kept in touch with former teachers with an occasional phone call and annual Christmas card. They are so appreciative. But I do these things because I want to. Taking the time to remember, find an appropriate card and then writing something special. All of these things touch people’s hearts and remind us that people care. Susan, it’s all about the love. And because this is such a small world, after all, we never know when we will see those whose lives we touched. Putting out that positive, loving aura is important EVERY DAY. Finally, I remember hearing Paul McCartney say once, “The more you give, the more you get.” What you get does not have to be material, but something more than that. Simple appreciation. Thanks for the word, Susan. Have a great rest of the week.” – “Warrior” Joe