Gratitude: Is it an emotion? A virtue? A behavior?

Infographic created by Here’s My Chance, and borrowed from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkeley.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I wanted to host a program that would guide us toward the right frame of mind. After all, it sometimes feels as if we’re struggling through endless difficulties. Bombarded by threats to a healthy planet; bedrock values that suddenly seem perched on quick sand; a pervasive nastiness toward anything different; an overt greediness for self over public good. Our expectations for how the world should be appear very fragile.

Not exactly sure how to proceed, I reached out to ministers, psychologists, musicians. So what we have here today is a potluck of thoughts around feeling thankful. Some of it is spiritual. Some of it is scientific. Some of it is musical. All of it is conversational.

If you have something you are thankful for in Anchorage or Alaska, or about your family or your work or your circumstances, we welcome your call today to share that. The goal of today’s show is to get a better understanding of gratitude and its ability to help us make sense of the world. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

HOST: Kathleen McCoy


  • Marcia Wakeland, founder of The Listening Post of Anchorage, retired physical therapist, retired pastor, currently working as a spiritual director
  • May Xiong, Hmong community member, deputy ombudsman Municipality of Anchorage
  • Curtis Ivanoff, field director, Evangelical Covenant Church


  • White paper on “The Science of Gratitude,” UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, downloadable PDF, 72 pages
  • Evolution of Gratitude, article, GGSC UC Berkeley
  • Authentic Happiness, website from the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center, a home of Dr. Martin Seligman
  • Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, magazine website
  • Gratitude webpage, GGSC, podcast and articles
  • The Science of Happiness podcast, GGSC website
  • Playlist of songs for Thanksgiving dinner, website created by Town & Country
  • 2015 Hometown Alaska program on Gratitude, including guest Dr. Jennifer Beathe
  • How the power of positive thinking won scientific credibility, The Atlantic, April 2012
  • Line One Your Health Connection, 2014, with Prentiss Pemberton and Dr. Jennifer Beathe
  • Five ways giving thanks can backfire, article, GGSC UC Berkeley
  • Why gratitude is hard for some people, article, GGSC UC Berkeley


  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
  • Send e-mail to before, during or after the live broadcast (e-mails may be read on air)
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  • LIVE: Monday, November 25, 2019 at 2:00 p.m
  • RE-AIR: Monday, November 25, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.

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