In these challenging times, we might find it very difficult to feel thankful! Actually, we have taken gratitude for granted. We say “thanks” a dozen or more times a day: when someone holds a door open, let us pass, take our order… It’s a reflex, a reaction to simple daily transactions. We just mutter it, without even acknowledging the person we are thanking.
How can we replace our muttered “thanks” to saying them with gratitude? And why is it even worth to do it?
First let’s define what Is Gratitude?
Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough define gratitude as a two-step process: 1) “recognizing that one has obtained a positive outcome” and 2) “recognizing that there is an external source for this positive outcome.”
In 2018, The Greater Good Science Center published a white paper called “The Science of Gratitude”, this study demonstrated many benefits of having a gratitude habit:
- More joy, optimism, and happiness
- More satisfaction with life
- Stronger immune systems and less depression
- Less likely to experience burnout
- Fewer feelings of loneliness and isolation.
- Better physical health
- Better sleep
- Less fatigue
- Greater resiliency
- Stronger relationships and more generous behavior
- Development of patience, humility, and wisdom
I’d like to share with you a quote that I like:
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
The problem is we don’t always feel grateful. We let the negatives in our lives take more importance and place of our attention than the positives.
To address this, it would be a good idea to work on making positive gratitude habits, so I’d like to suggest a few actions to start with:
- Count your blessings: Keep a daily journal of three things you are thankful for, just 5 to 10 minutes at the end of each day.
- Reflect on the important, positive events in your life and what would have happened if they have never taken place.
- Say “thank you”: it’s a small gesture of recognition and appreciation, to say “thank you” but with meaning and acknowledgment. And when something deserves more, write a thank you note or gratitude letter.
As I write this, I feel appreciative of so many beautiful people in my life, including the presence of YOU, I am grateful that you read these lines, thank you.
Source: The Science of Gratitude – Greater Good Science Center: https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/images/uploads/GGSC-JTF_White_Paper-Gratitude-FINAL.pdf