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Americans Optimistic About the Future

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TASTE News Service, July 1, 2020 -- Americans are optimistic about what the future holds for them despite living in a global pandemic and grappling with worrisome financial, relationship, health and leadership concerns.

emmons rober UCD Pysch Prof PicmonkeyProfessor Robert Emmons of UC Davis

According to a new study conducted by UC Davis and Gracianna Winery of Sonoma County, people predict they will emerge from the Coronavirus crisis with more to be grateful for. The study aimed to investigate respondents’ feelings, thoughts, and attitudes regarding gratitude, now and in the future.

Over 56% of respondents reported being very grateful in general, whereas only 39% of people reported being very hopeful (the second highest-rated positive emotion after gratitude). And 69% expect to feel very grateful in the future. In fact, their feelings about the future are more positive than negative, signaling that they expect to be less stressed and worried in the future.

"As stressful as the pandemic has been on all facets of our 'typical' lives, people can still see a future where they feel more grateful for those elements in their lives that they yearn for now," said study leader Dr. Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at University of California, Davis. "The pandemic has reminded us all that our mental and physical health is a top driver of what allows us to appreciate everything else we cherish, our loves, our exercise, even the food we eat and the wine we drink."

Referencing prior studies conducted after significant catastrophes, Philip Watkins of Eastern Washington University, study collaborator says that, "In the face of crises and during troubling times people rely on positive feelings to cope, and they seem to turn to gratitude more than any other positive emotion."

"This does not surprise us," said Trini Amador, Sr., partner at study co-sponsor Gracianna Winery, "since our wine is for those with something to be grateful for. We wanted to better understand exactly what it is that people most appreciate during these times.

Lisa and Trini Amador Sr and family PicmonkeyLisa and Trini Amador Sr. share a happy moment with their family out by the vineyard.

Of the respondents that the UC Davis/Gracianna Winery study surveyed, gratitude was the strongest predictor of positive changes in the self. "It means that gratitude is playing a unique role as a core emotional feeling versus happy, sad, angry, etc. —gratitude is not just helping people feel good—it has a unique potential allowing people to see positive changes in themselves," said lead researcher Emmons, "Being happy, optimistic, or hopeful are secondary predictors of growth whereas being grateful is the primary driver of this positive change."

Watkins added, "Overall there is optimism for the future, even though we could see very rough times ahead." Researchers found respondents seeing positive emotions ahead such as joy, hope and calm and feeling that all negative emotions will diminish.

"Being grateful," Amador continued, "was strongly linked to beliefs that 'access to food and drink has reminded me of the infrastructure that I depend on for my existence;' 'I take more time to appreciate food and wine;' and that 'I am finding drinking wine enhances other experiences more than it did before.' This finding tells us we must savor the everyday moments of grace when we are able to host a meal with family or friends."

Emmons was pleased with the results: "The study shows us that despite the worst, resilience reigns."

The poll was conducted from May 10 to May 17, 2020 with 532 adults in the U.S.

Gracianna's Trini Amador summed it up by saying, "We know that living gratefully in the moment allows us to transcend even the worst of times."

 

Editor’s note: Taste California Travel looks forward to the time when we can put this current pandemic behind us. That day will come and we hope that it is sooner, rather than later. Meantime, we hope you all observe reasonable health precautions and stay safe.

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