“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

Many people express gratitude by just saying “thank you” to someone who has either helped them or given them something. In the scientific context, gratitude is not only an action but also a positive biological emotion.

That said, what is gratitude?

Gratitude can be defined as a grateful appreciation for what a person receives; this can be intangible or tangible. In other words, it’s a response to receiving something. This implies that the receiver acknowledges the giver’s goodness and kindness.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough. It is a precursor to happiness. It is a precondition to success. It is a powerful catalyst for happiness. Joy is the simplest form of gratitude. It is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind. It is the most exquisite form of courtesy.

Stages of gratitude

In regard to Dr Robert Emmons, there are two stages of the gratitude feeling:

  • First, it’s an acknowledgement of the gift of life. In the confinement of gratitude, this concept is commonly referred to as yes to life. In other words, people affirm that all in all, life is precious and good, and it has elements that make one be thankful or grateful.
  • Second, gratitude is all about recognizing the sources of goodness. It must be noted that grateful lie outside one’s self. Hence can be grateful to animals, other people, the world but not himself or herself. At this stage, the person should recognize and thank the source of happiness and endeavors.

Benefits of gratitude

  • Enhances well being

According to various studies, expressing thanks improves one’s overall wellbeing. Grateful people are more open, agreeable, and less neurotic. Besides, gratitude is inversely related to depression. This does not imply that depressed people should only be grateful, and all is done. Depression is one of the complicated health conditions, and millions of people are struggling with it. However, gratitude practices should be part of therapy and treatment since they improve one’s state of mind.

  • Deepens relationships

Gratitude is one of the powerful tools when it comes to strengthening interpersonal bonds and relationships. People who are prone to expressing gratitude, tend to be so forgiving and less narcissistic. Bring thankful to those who have assisted you strengthens and maintains the relations between you and them.

Even in a real love situation, if the partners are grateful to each other, the relationship deepens and lasts longer.

  • Increases happiness

According to the research that was conducted by Toepfer, Cichy, and Peters (2011), people who write and deliver a note to someone whom they are grateful to, after the task, the levels of their happiness dramatically increases.

In the pursuit of life satisfaction and happiness, gratitude provides a long-lasting happiness effect. Therefore, the more you experience and express gratitude, the more you’ll be happy.

  • Boosts self-esteem

According to the study that was published in 2014 by the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, it was found that gratitude significantly increases athlete’s self-esteem, which is a vital component for optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Instead of being resentful unto people who are better than you, which is the primary for low self-esteem, grateful people always appreciate other people’s accomplishments.

How to express gratitude

There so many ways that you should express gratitude. Here, the article is going to focus on the basic ways of expressing gratitude. This includes;

• Write a gratitude letter or note.

• Give a gratitude gift.

• Express face to face gratitude

• Handmade gifts such as jars
• Compliment people for their talents
• Exhibit patience in any everything
• Like a friend’s social media posts
• Learn to forgive
• Donate clothes to the homeless
• Avoid using your phone when you’re with people.
• Be calm and use a light voice.
• Visit a children’s home.
• Do some cleaning in your city
• Give thanks to the most high for the gift of life.
• Respect time when you’re running a meeting

Why is gratitude such a powerful practice: –

  • Availability-Gratitude is absolutely available to anyone to use it.
  • Timeliness-Gratitude forces you to stop time and be present.
  • Scope-When you feel grateful, you change your reality, you change the universe in which you exist.

Thought leaders who are Gratitude ambassadors: –

Tony Robbins: –“I do priming:I focus on three moments in my life that I’m grateful for, because gratitude is the antidote to the things that mess us up. You can’t be angry and grateful simultaneously. You can’t be fearful and grateful simultaneously.

Oprah Winfrey: – “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Dalai Lama: – “The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.”

Malala Yousafzai: – “I can speak, I can see you, I can see everyone and today I can speak and I’m getting better day by day. It’s just because of the prayers of people, and because of these prayers, God has given me this new life, and this is a second life. This is a new life and I want to serve the people.” 

Antoni Porowski: –“[I] focus on gratitude and being of service. It gets me excited to want to take care of my guests, be it family, friends, or a work-related function.”

Nick Vujicic: – “If you keep concentrating on the things you wish you had over the things you have; you sort of forget the things you do have. So be grateful for what you already have”. 

Good books have been written on Gratitude. Some of them include: –

Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

Living in Gratitude by Angeles Arrien

Thanks a Thousand by A.J.Jacobs

Link for a beautiful story on Gratitude: –

Final thoughts: –

The chances are that now you know what gratitude means, its benefits and how it can be expressed. The ball is on your court; you either learn how to express gratitude or improve the way you’re expressing your gratitude. Remember, life is all about the little things, always be thankful for everything.

Questions for reflection: –

What is the most effective way to practice Gratitude everyday?

What have others done in your life that you are grateful for?

What relationships are you grateful for?

Why is gratitude a powerful practice?

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