“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
February is the time of year when our minds turn to hearts, love, and gratitude. We’ll focus on the value of the last one – gratitude.
What is it? Here is one of the multitude of definitions that can be found in a google search.
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
“She expressed her gratitude to the committee for their support.”
synonyms: gratefulness, thankfulness, thanks, appreciation, indebtedness; recognition, acknowledgment, credit
Most of us associate gratitude with saying “thank you” to someone who has helped us or given us a gift. From a scientific perspective, gratitude is not just an action. Gratitude is a positive emotion.
Gratitude works because it is a selfless act. Gratitude acts are done unconditionally to show to people that they are appreciated, not because people are looking for something in return. Gratitude can be contagious.
Psychology researchers, including Robert Emmons, have noted these outcomes as a result of studying gratitude:
- Well–being – Grateful people are more agreeable, more open, and less neurotic. Furthermore, gratitude is related negatively to depression and positively to life satisfaction.
- Relationships – People who express their gratitude tend to be more willing to forgive others.
- Optimism – People who focus on gratitude in their lives show significantly more optimism in many areas of their lives, including health and exercise.
- Happiness – In the pursuit of happiness and life satisfaction, gratitude is showing a direct and long lasting effect. Thus, the more gratitude we experience the happier our lives will be.
- Stronger self-control – Self-control significantly increased when subjects chose gratitude over happiness and feeling neutral.
- Better physical and mental health – The feeling of appreciation that comes when we are grateful helps us to have healthier minds, and with that, healthier bodies.
- An overall better life – “…adults who feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics.” – Melinda Beck
To conclude, this quote summarizes the importance of gratitude in a nutshell.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
In what ways are you living gratitude in your life in 2018?