“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” —Henri Frederic Amiel
It can be easy to forget simple gestures of kindness as we go about our daily lives. Each and every day holds precious gifts. There’s always something to be thankful for, from having jobs and friends and family to the air we breathe, and the health of our lungs that allow us to breathe.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is more than just saying “thank you.” It’s realising that what someone did for you or on your behalf means something important. They could have not done it just as easily. Gratitude is knowing and appreciating this. It has the power to make us stronger, happier, and better people. Most importantly, it helps foster healthy and strong relationships, because you’ll get gratitude in return.
What does gratitude help with?
In a nutshell? Everything! It improves our health, relationships, social lives, personal lives, even helps us get richer. Above all, gratitude makes us happier. It’s possible to increase your long-term well-being by keeping a simple journal of thanks. It doesn’t have to take more than 5 minutes a day. Gratitude improves our emotions, health, personality, relationships, and careers. It makes some people happier than even money.
We get very used to material things and they please us only for so long. Not so with the spiritual benefits that gratitude brings.
Gratitude is like love – the more you give, the more you receive. It’s a perpetual source of goodness. This is why a gratitude journal can make you that much more satisfied. The actual gratitude produced during the short period of time, which you take to jot your thoughts down triggers powerful emotions, which in turn lead to a grateful mood.
While in a grateful mood, one feels gratitude more often. It is more intense and held for longer, and we will feel gratitude for a greater number of things at the same time.
We tend to experience less of an emotion that we’ve had repeated exposure to. Just as we get used to the good things that happen to us, we get used to the bad ones. People who have experienced disaster or shock in their lives develop a remarkable ability to rebound, also known as resilience. At first, they feel terrible, but after a while they go back to how they felt before the unfortunate event. It might take weeks, even months, but it does and will happen.
Failing to be grateful also kills our relationships. We start taking great friends and amazing spouses for granted. This could also apply to good jobs, good bosses, good clients, even good kids. We can take a great home or car for granted and become less appreciative of it. We stop seeing as much positive as we used to and begin to whine. It is a psychological imperative to fight this process of adaptation if we want to be as happy as possible.
Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools we have to make this happen.
Why does it take so long?
It takes a time and a regular practice for the biggest benefits to appear. This is because cultivating gratitude is a skill. It takes time to learn and to form it into a daily habit. To some extent, gratitude is a personality trait. Some people are simply born more grateful than others. Daily gratitude practice can change our lives and our personalities, but that takes time.
Gratitude makes us healthier, more likeable, more effective and efficient at the workplace. How does it help? Here are the ways.
Gratitude makes people like us more because we become more social, more trusting, and nicer. This feeling generates social capital – research has shown that people who are more grateful (based on self-reports) had more friends than those who didn’t consider themselves as grateful. Gratitude makes us more pleasant and more appreciative of what we have. As a result, it helps us deepen our existing relationships, make more friends, improve our romantic relationships and prospects, and more.
The importance of gratitude to your career
Gratitude helps you network, makes you a more effective manager, increases your decision-making capabilities, helps you obtain mentors and protégés, and increases your productivity. As a result, it helps people achieve their career goals and makes their offices a more pleasant and friendly place to be.
Gratitude not only reduces aggression, but also enhances empathy. Grateful people are more likely to behave constructively even when those around them are behaving less kindly. In a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky, participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to attack people verbally when given negative feedback. They were more empathetic and sensitive toward other people and less inclined to seek revenge.
Improves Quality of Sleep
Grateful people sleep better. One study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being found that just 15 minutes jotting down some thoughts of gratitude before bed helps people sleep better and longer.
Gratitude can improve your confidence and self-esteem. These factors are crucial to success, and a 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that being grateful enhanced them among athletes. Other researchers have found that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments rather than becoming resentful toward people who appear to be more “blessed” than they are in the way of jobs, money, or relationships.
By becoming more grateful, you could be increasing your life span! This is because gratitude acts as a shield against stressors.
Simple Gratitude Exercise
It starts with small steps. Be mindful of what is going on around you. You will become more attuned to acts of kindness this way. When you do, take 10 seconds to really consider and appreciate them, and say “Thank you” and really feel it with your heart with your breath. And really mean it.
5 Ways to Practice Gratitude
Start a gratitude journal
Spending as little as five to ten minutes logging your thoughts in a gratitude journal can do wonders for your mood and mental health. reflect on the events of the day and jot down at least five things you’re grateful for.
Express gratitude toward others
Appreciate your friends and loved ones more often. Don’t reserve your gratitude for special occasions, like birthdays and anniversaries. It could be something as simple as leaving a surprise thank you note in on the fridge or work desk, giving them a call or sharing something nice about them on social media.
Go for gratitude walks
Gratitude walk, also known as savouring walk, combines these benefits with the merits of cultivating gratitude. The term ‘gratitude walk’ essentially means walking with a calm, grateful state of mind. All you need to do is focus on your breathing, your steps and the surroundings as you stroll.
Cultivate food gratitude
This strategy centers on conscious eating and making mindful food choices. Mindful eating, on the other hand, focuses on conscious, healthy eating. Choose healthy food options and take time to enjoy the process of preparing your meals. When it’s time to eat, get rid of distractions (like TV, phone, laptop, etc.) and concentrate only on the food on your plate. Be appreciative of what you eat. Take small bites and chew slowly. Savour every bite – noticing different textures, flavours and aroma.
The concept of mindful living is based on the Buddhist practice of mindfulness. The technique involves being conscious or aware of the present experience. It means channelling all your attention to whatever you’re doing –whether it’s cooking, gardening or a work assignment.