I love being around people who have an attitude of gratitude. There is so much to be grateful for and giving thanks once a year on a holiday devoted to thankfulness is not even close to enough. Grateful people tend to be more giving, kind and compassionate. They appreciate their world by appreciating, and being grateful. If you’re blessed enough to have friends who are grateful then they will add value to their life simply by being around them. They’ll build you up and be an investment into your happiness.
Ungrateful people on the other hand will literally suck the life out of you. They’ll complain, tell you why something isn’t good enough and tear you down. A person who is grateful has an optimistic perspective and makes the best out of the worst while an ungrateful person has a pessimistic attitude and brings the whole room down.
If there’s one thing we can all learn in life it would be to be more grateful. We have so much and are so blessed. Simply having food, shelter and clothing is enough to be grateful for, let alone the internet and the device you’re reading this article on. The list of what you have to be grateful for could go on and on for days. It’s a fun and rewarding exercise to simply create a gratitude list and literally write down on paper with a pen what you’re grateful for and just keep listing them out. This expands your capacity to appreciate as well as your capacity to be an optimist, both of which have unique individual rewards in your life.
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). Years back at a personal development seminar one of the speakers said “What you appreciate appreciates.” How true is that? What you appreciate appreciates in value and importance. If you appreciate your partner in a relationship then that relationship will flourish most of the time. If you appreciate your job or business then those areas of your life will thrive. Whatever you appreciate will appreciate in value in your life. The key to getting, doing, being or having more in life is to simply start by appreciating where you’re at right now.
Harvard University wrote about gratitude and it’s extraordinary benefits for health and wellness in one of their newsletters.
Through multiple studies exercises in gratitude on participants were found to increase their happiness score, relationships and in one study those who practiced gratitude actually had less visits to the doctor!
“Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.
Of course, studies such as this one cannot prove cause and effect. But most of the studies published on this topic support an association between gratitude and an individual’s well-being.
Other studies have looked at how gratitude can improve relationships. For example, a study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.
Managers who remember to say “thank you” to people who work for them may find that those employees feel motivated to work harder. Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania randomly divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had. The second group — assigned to work on a different day — received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not.
There are some notable exceptions to the generally positive results in research on gratitude. One study found that middle-aged divorced women who kept gratitude journals were no more satisfied with their lives than those who did not. Another study found that children and adolescents who wrote and delivered a thank-you letter to someone who made a difference in their lives may have made the other person happier — but did not improve their own well-being. This finding suggests that gratitude is an attainment associated with emotional maturity.”
Not only that but another study found that people with an attitude of gratitude had lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in their blood. Your body copes with stress better which means your internal organs are less effected by stress simply by being grateful.
There you have it. Being grateful will make you happier, improve your relationships, reduce your trips to the doctor along with stress and improve your emotional well-being and maturity. Not only that, but if you’re a manager or manage any type of workers by simply being grateful and expressing gratitude your workforce will be more productive! By 50% in the one study.
You can be grateful and practice gratitude at any time. On the drive to work, before bed, or first thing in the morning. All are great times to practice gratitude. You can be grateful for the past by reliving and anchoring positive experiences and being grateful for those. You can be grateful for present day experiences and things in the moment, and you can also be grateful and hopeful for an optimistic future. Gratitude doesn’t have a time barrier, it only has a heart barrier, and when your heart is in the right space it will pour out of you more often adding value and benefits to your life.
Gratitude also connects you to something much bigger than yourself. Gratitude is the act of acknowledging how amazing, beautiful and blessed you are by something or someone outside of yourself. It connects you to mother nature, God, Gaia and humanity in a very strong way.
You can practice gratitude mentally, by writing it down in a journal or on a sticky note reminder. You can use prayer, yoga or meditation to practice gratitude. You can express gratitude by calling a loved one or an old friend. There’s no limit to how or when you practice gratitude, so dose up on it! There’s no reason not to!