An Antidote to Dissatisfaction


Everybody is familiar with the feeling that things are not as they should be. That you’re not successful enough, your relationship’s not satisfying enough, that you don’t have the things you crave. A chronic dissatisfaction that makes you look outwards with envy and inwards with disappointment. Pop culture, advertising, and social media make this worse by reminding you that aiming for anything less than your dream job is failure, you need to have great experiences constantly, be conventionally attractive, have a lot of friends, and find your soulmate, and that others have all of these things and are truly happy. And, of course, a vast array of self-improvement products implies that it’s all your fault for not working hard enough on yourself. In the last two decades, researchers have been starting to investigate how we can counteract these impulses. The field of positive psychology emerged, the study of what makes life worth living, while cognitive behavioral therapy was developed to change negative feelings. Scientists began to ask “Why are some people happier and more satisfied than others?” “And are there ways to apply what they’re doing right to the rest of us?” In this video, we want to talk about one of the strongest predictors of how happy people are, how easily they make friends, and how good they are at dealing with hardship. An antidote to dissatisfaction, so to speak: Gratitude. While gratitude may sound like another self-improvement trend, preached by people
who use hashtags, what we currently know about it is based
on a body of scientific work and studies. We’ll include them in the description. Gratitude can mean very different things
to different people in different contexts. It’s a character trait, a feeling,
a virtue, and a behavior. You can feel grateful towards someone
who did something for you, for random events,
like the weather, or even for nature or fate, and it’s wired into our biology. 1: How Gratitude Connects Us to Each Other. The predecessor of gratitude
is probably reciprocity. It likely evolved as
a biological signal that motivates animals to exchange
things for their mutual benefit and can be found
in the animal kingdom among certain fish,
birds, or mammals, but especially in primates. When your brain recognizes that
someone’s done something nice for you, it reacts with gratitude to
motivate you to repay them. This gratitude makes
you care about others, and others care about you. This was important because, as human brains got
better at reading emotions, selfish individuals were
identified and shunned. It became an evolutionary advantage
to play well with others and build lasting relationships. For example,
if you were hungry and someone else showed
you where to find tasty berries, you felt gratitude towards them and a bond to return
the favor in the future, a drive to be pro-social. When you repaid them,
they felt gratitude towards you. This brought your ancestors
closer together and forged bonds and friendships. So, early forms of gratitude
were biological mechanisms that modified your behavior
towards cooperation, which helped humans
to dominate Earth. But, over time, gratitude became more than
just an impulse to play fair. 2: The Consequences of Gratitude Scientists found that gratitude
stimulates the pathways in your brain involved in feelings of reward, forming social bonds, and interpreting other’s intentions. It also makes it easier to save
and retrieve positive memories Even more, gratitude directly counteracts
negative feelings and traits, like envy and social comparison, narcissism, cynicism, and materialism. As a consequence, people who
are grateful, no matter what for, tend to be happier and more satisfied. They have better relationships, an easier time making friends. They sleep better, tend to suffer less from
depression, addiction, and burnout, and are better at dealing
with traumatic events. In a way, gratitude makes it
less likely that you’ll fall into one of the psychological traps
modern life has set for you. For example, gratitude
measurably counters the tendency to forget and
downplay positive events. If you work long and
hard for something, actually getting it can feel
daft and empty. You can find yourself emotionally
back where you started and try to achieve
the next biggest thing, looking for that satisfaction, instead of being satisfied with yourself. Or, imagine being lonely and
wanting to have more friends. You actually might have someone or even multiple people
who want to hang out, but you might feel that
this is not enough, that you’re a loser and
feel bad about yourself. So you might turn down
their attempts to hang out and become more lonely. If you feel grateful for
your relationships instead, you might accept invitations or even take the initiative. The more often you risk opening up, the higher the chance of
solidifying relationships and meeting new people. In the best case, gratitude
can trigger a feedback loop. Positive feelings lead to
more pro-social behavior, which leads to more
positive social experiences that cause more
positive feelings. This is a common experience
after serious hardship, like chemotherapy, for example. Life can feel amazing
after a crisis is over. The smallest things can be
bottomless sources of joy, from being able to taste to just sitting in the sun
or chatting with a friend. Objectively, your life is the same or
maybe even slightly worse than before, but your brain compares
your present experiences with the times
when life was bad and reacts with gratitude. So, in a nutshell, gratitude refocuses your attention
towards the good things you have, and the consequences of this shift are better feelings and
more positive experiences. While it is great to
know these things, is there actually a way for
you to feel more of it? 3: How To Make Your Brain More Grateful The ability to experience
more or less gratitude is not equally distributed. You have what’s known as
trait gratitude, that determines how much
you are able to feel it. It depends on your genetics,
personality, and culture. This discovery made
scientists wonder if they could design exercises
that change your trait gratitude and lead to more happiness. Let’s start with
important caveats. It’s not yet entirely clear to what degree
gratitude can be trained or how long the effects last. There are no
magic pills for happiness. Life is complicated. On some days, it feels like
you’re in control of yourself, and, on others, you
feel like you’re not. And this is okay. Also, sometimes pursuing happiness
can make you more unhappy if you put too much pressure on yourself. Gratitude should also not be seen
as a solution to depression or a substitute for professional help,. It can only be a piece of the puzzle. It’s not the solution to the puzzle itself. The easiest gratitude exercise,
with the most solid research behind it, is gratitude journaling. It means sitting down
for a few minutes, one to three times a week, and writing down five to ten
things you’re grateful for It might feel weird at first, so start simply. Can you feel grateful
for a little thing? Like how great coffee is, or that someone
was kind to you. Can you appreciate something
someone else did for you? Can you reflect on which things or people
you would miss if they were gone and be grateful that they’re in your life? We’re all different, so you’ll know what
works for you. And that’s it, really. It feels almost insulting, like things shouldn’t
be that simple. But in numerous studies, the participants reported
more happiness and a higher general
life satisfaction after doing this practice
for a few weeks. And, even more, studies have found
changes in brain activity some months
after they ended. Practicing gratitude may be
a real way to reprogram yourself. This research shows that
your emotions are not fixed. In the end, how
you experience life is a representation of
what you believe about it. If you attack your core beliefs
about yourself and your life, you can change your
thoughts and feelings, which automatically
changes your behavior. It’s pretty mind-blowing that
something as simple as self-reflection can hack the pathways in our brain
to fight dissatisfaction. And, if this is no reason
to be more optimistic, what is? Being a human is hard, but it doesn’t need
to be as hard. And, if you actively look, you might find that your life is
much better than you thought. [Happy bark] [Party horn] If you’re curious and
want to try out gratitude, we made a thing. Please note that you don’t need to buy
anything from anyone to practice gratitude. All you need is paper,
a pen, and five minutes. Having said that, we’ve made
a Kurzgesagt gratitude journal, based on studies we’ve read, conversations with experts, and our personal experiences
with gratitude over the last year. It’s structured in a way that
might make it a bit easier to get into the habit of
gratitude journaling. There are short explanations
and reflections to mix it up and make it more interesting. We’ve also made it
as pretty as we could. This video continues
the unofficial series of more personal,
introspective videos, from optimistic nihilism to
loneliness and now gratitude. We don’t want to be
a self-help channel, so we’ll keep this sort of video
at roughly one per year. We hope they’re helpful
to some of you. Thank you for watching. [Outro theme] [Quack]
[Outro theme] [Outro theme]

100 thoughts on “An Antidote to Dissatisfaction

  1. Ohai! For a change a few personal words. My name is Philipp and I started this channel almost seven years ago – you don’t know my voice but you have heard my words because I write most of our scripts.

    Oh boy. This was a hard video to make. Gratitude felt vaguely risky to do as a topic. It has this aura of cheap Instagram hashtag self help stuff.

    Some of you will hate this video deeply, and the thought of that made me pretty anxious writing it. Gratitude was not supposed to be a video topic originally. Just like the Nihilism and Loneliness videos, the script was based on personal struggles and part of the process of dealing with them. And so it felt right to make gratitude a video too.

    But Kurzgesagt is not a self help channel, so we'll keep this sort of content at roughly one or two per year.

    We hope they are helpful to some of you.

    If you care for my take on how to practice Gratitude, we made a Kurzgesagt Gratitude journal to combine the science with practical tips. https://shop.kurzgesagt.org/

    Please note: You don’t need to buy this or anything else to practice gratitude – you only need a pen, a piece of paper and 5 minutes.

    Thank you for watching our videos and reading this comment. Being able to do Kurzgesagt means a lot. To me and the whole team. – Philipp

  2. Can you make a video dedicated to white blood cells? I don’t think they get the credit they deserve

  3. yea i should be grateful for life and forget what makes me dissatisfied.
    what a load of bull produced by privileged people. dissatisfaction is most often a direct result of how we run our societies. no amount of gratefulness can cover the madness modern society is in that even this video represent where it continue to dumb down the populace by not focusing on the obvious reasons why people are (dis)satisfied. pseudo-science conjured to push political correct narratives with the sole purpose of further work toward eliminating political dissidents.

  4. One thing i am grateful for is this video and your channel. Thank you. I think you are doing something amazing in this time of "hashtags" and clickbaits and so on. I am from Bulgaria and i am a Petrol engineer. If i can do anything to help you and your great cause of spreading knowledge please let me know. Wish you all the best.

  5. Again, BIG THANKS for this video! Very wonderful indeed. Time for us to practice gratitude 😊

  6. {And ˹remember˺ when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will certainly give you more. But if you are ungrateful, surely My punishment is severe.’”}
    Qur'an 14:7

  7. Interesting, the video starts with stuff that just is not true for me. My dissatisfaction is with a world obsessed by consumerism, is greedy and selfish , full of people too lazy to think for themselves. I steer clear of 'pop culture, advertising and social media' especially TV.

  8. I discovered your channel a few days ago and I want to CONGRATULATE YOU 100x. I love to content, the tone and the values I kind of see behind.
    This video is good and goes beyond the self-help empty talk.
    👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
    Said that I love neutron stars and space slings too

  9. thank you, Kurzgesagt. i hope you keep doing these videos more even though you don't want to become a self help channel. they help me so much. thank you again.

  10. Mal eine Frage, benutzt ihr auch für eure Englische Videos einen Teil der Funk-Gelder?

  11. I also try to help me gf realize this, she stresses and panics so much over so little.
    Humility > pride
    I'm 23 living with my parents and my gf recently moved in, I work at Publix as a cashier and I'm yet to get my liscence. I have almost no social media, my gf has more than enough for us both. But I don't feel like I'm missing anything, I've never been happier honestly. Every morning I wake up I'm grateful, and the rest just follows. Reading the " book of the way" by Lao Tzu has been eye opening. I spend so much time just enjoying the little things, a cup of coffee, seeing colors, being able to think about things like this. All of us here only have one life, live it now. Don't worry about the future or the past, for if you do how can you enjoy the present?
    " it's not about you, it's about them. No man can leave his own story"
    Live for others, help people, just be polite. Dont try to be kind, just be kind. Embrace simplicity, and follow your dream. Let life lead you, just follow your heart, aka doing not – doing. Once you can achieve this, everything will fall into place. Much love my friends 🙏♥️. And Thank you Kuzgesagt, for being such an inspiration. You're a lifeboat of wisdom and light in a sea of corruption.

  12. Other channels: buy our shit to make your life 1000% better!

    Me: fuck off shills

    Kurzgesagt: you absolutely don't need this but if you want we made a pretty journal with cool quotes in it

    Me: SHUT UP AND GIVE IT TO ME

  13. I see Kurzgesagt avoided crediting religion for an individual's development of gratitude… common Kurzg, I know you guys hate religion but it has had a very positive impact of countless lives around the world

  14. I like the addition of sources sited in real time on the bottom corner of the window. Keep up the great work researching and compiling all this data into easy to digest and visually pleasing videos that anyone can watch and learn. My 7 year daughter and I love this channel. We have both learned a lot since subscribing, big thanks to everyone on the, in a nutshell, (kurzgesagt) team. (Subscribing since before the name change.) 😉

  15. Your vídeos about personal inteospective are fantastic! Please make more.

    I am from Brazil

  16. The most incredible display of gratitude I ever witnessed was in the Youtube videos of Emily Hayward. Her story will break your heart and make you cry, but there is some possibility that it will change your life.

  17. I started writing a diary a few months ago and I like how I get to see what happened in each day and sometimes I see things I didn't appreciate before.

  18. I wanted to buy one to thanks your work but it is sold out. I am happy people like your products, I'll wait then 🙂

  19. I think these videos are more than self-help gimmicks, they go deeper in the explanation, have a solid scientific basis, and have philosophical value sometimes. Keep it to as many as you want per year, but I wouldn't say they are harmful to your channel. They feel just as right coming from Kurzgesagt as the other ones do.

    Amazing job as always

  20. is this not a chicken or the egg type thing? isn't it possible that happier people show more gratitude because their lives are better?

  21. After many, many cycles of chemo-therapy, what is not ages ago, I concur. I feel lucky to be alive every moment of every day. Cheers!

  22. People who are unhappy with their lives don't need to hear this victim blaming "just be grateful" horseshit. It's really insulting and upsetting to imply a person's misery is their own fault for being so stupid they thought they deserved more. It's easy to be grateful when you actually have something to be grateful about.

  23. When he said these videos will be uploaded once per year and you realize 2020 is in less than 3 weeks

  24. Why does everyone keep memeing in the comments? I legit try to read good comments about people's views but all I see are comments full of unnecessary memery

  25. I can't find your channel on Facebook! I want to share your excellent videos on the social media? !

  26. Amazing animation and content! Have you though about releasing a making- of behind the scenes video, showing the process and work it takes to produce one?

  27. The only true satisfaction that lasts forever is that of having Jesus in your heart. Anything else is a lie that is meant to make you want more of it in order to be satisfied, it is a bottomless pit that’s a lie.

  28. This is me opening up and expressing my gratitude to you guys @Kurzgesagt, especially for this video.

    Live long & prosper! 🙂

  29. Hence Thanksgiving and the gift giving seasons. Seems like the most common emotional problems people stem from taking things for granted.

  30. If u attack your core beliefs about your self can change yourself for the better that is what really life is for.

  31. Türkçe altyazı gelsin bu kanalı çok seviyorum ama ingilizcem pek yok altyazı geldigi an izleyecem

  32. So I'm really grateful for tons of things in my life. but I don't feel it helps me at all at being happier. bc there is so much unfairness in this world. and it's hard to handle weltschmerz

  33. Stop talking about dissatisfaction as if were some disease. We are just differently satisfied. We don't have to fit in with the rest of you complancient types. ; -)

  34. honestly Islamic philosophy is incredibly helpful to having a more fullfilling life

  35. Does this channel belong to Rundfunk?
    I love 'Kurzgesagt' , schaue es aber für gewöhnlich nur auf deutsch.

  36. I have an video idea, you did a video about loneliness, and now one about dissatisfaction/ gratitude, why don't you guys do a video about fellings, why do we fell ? Why emotions ? Where they come from ? Do other animals have them ? Sorry if i wrote something wrong i'm from brazil and my english is not that good

  37. i like that this is content that would normally be just saying what you believe, but its done in a very objective and scientific way that makes it feel like my intelligence isnt being insulted. 10/10 video

  38. Gratitude is something I "think" I got, but maybe not. I am optimistic but at moments, everything seems useless, I don't get satisfied for most part, etc etc

  39. Just look forward to Oblivion, fuck everything. Not hiding shit, just being real. everything humanity has done, is a pure shit show.

  40. Kurzgesagt ¿La gratitud puede hacernos conformistas?
    Can gratitude make us conformist?

  41. It seems like appreciation could replace every usage of gratitude, while being less selfish.
    Listing off things that don't seem right, but only caring about your own situation seems unhealthy.
    Gratitude implies receipt of something, while appreciation has a more neutral tone.
    Gratitude also assumes a comparison to negative alternatives, while appreciation is an independent mode of perception.

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