The Power of Gratitude
Positive psychology defines gratitude as more than feeling thankful: it is a deeper appreciation for someone (or something) that produces longer-lasting positivity. It is a recognition of value independent of monetary worth. Spontaneously generated from within, it is an affirmation of goodness and warmth. In fact, it is a social emotion that signals our recognition of the things others have done for us. It strengthens relationships, and its roots run deep in evolutionary history—emanating from the survival value of helping others and being helped in return.
According to Dr. Robert Emmons, the feeling of gratitude involves two stages:
1. First comes the acknowledgement of goodness in one’s life.
In a state of gratitude, we say yes to life. We affirm that all in all, life is good and has elements that make it worth living and rich in texture. The acknowledgement that we have received something gratifies us, both by its presence and by the effort the giver put into choosing it.
2. Gratitude is recognizing that some of the sources of this goodness lie outside the self.
One can be grateful to other people, to animals, and the world, but not to oneself. At this stage, we recognize the goodness in our lives and who to thank for it, i.e., those who made sacrifices so that we could be happy.
Being more grateful may bring a positive impact on your life:
Grateful people are more agreeable, more open, and less neurotic.
Giving thanks to those who have helped you strengthens your relationships and promotes relationship formation and maintenance, as well as relationship connection and satisfaction
People who focus on gratitude show more optimism in many areas of their lives, including health and exercise.
In the pursuit of happiness and life satisfaction, gratitude offers a long-lasting effect in a positive feedback loop of sorts.
Showing that emotion can foster self-control and discovering a way to reduce impatience with a simple gratitude exercise opens up tremendous possibilities for reducing a wide range of societal ills from impulse buying and insufficient saving to obesity and smoking.
.Better physical and mental health
The feeling of appreciation helps us to have healthier minds and healthier bodies.
People who are more grateful in life are also more satisfied with themselves partly due to their ability to appreciate other peoples’ accomplishments. As a result - they tend to have higher levels of self-esteem.
You might think it feels inauthentic to try and force gratitude. Don't worry - that’s how most of us feel. But it is a powerful way of reprogramming your subconscious mind into feeling positive and happy when we are so accustomed to negative thinking, worrying, and criticizing ourselves. By cultivating gratitude, you not only reduce worry and fear; you can replace them with love and joy. And best of all, you refocus on what you have instead of what you lack. For the coming days, we prepared a few exercises that help to cultivate gratitude.