The Importance of Gratitude

The Importance of Gratitude

One of the single most important things you can do to improve the quality of your life is to practice gratitude. Gratitude can help you increase your personal well-being, make you more resilient to trauma, and improve your relationships with others. Best of all, being grateful is something that is fairly easy to incorporate into your everyday life.

What does it mean to be grateful?

According to Robert Emmons, a leading expert on gratitude, there are two parts to gratitude:

 

  • Affirmation of goodness
  • Recognition that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves.

 

In other words, the first part of gratitude is acknowledging the good things in our life, and the second part of that is realizing that this is due to external forces, whether that be other individuals or even higher powers.    

Why is this important?

Gratitude provides recognition of others support and affirmation of ourselves. It allows us to appreciate gifts and acts of kindness. It also acts as a moral compass as it keeps track of kind acts and motivates us to reciprocate these. Thus, it allows us to feel more connected to others.

How to increase Gratitude?

According to Forbes there are eight easy ways to increase your gratitude:

  1. Appreciate everything
  2. Be grateful for challenges
  3. Practice mindfulness
  4. Keep a gratitude journal
  5. Volunteer 
  6. Express yourself
  7. Spend time with loved ones
  8. Do things you enjoy

In summary, gratitude is not about what you have, but what you make of it. Being thankful for what you’ve been given and tracking this with daily affirmations or journaling can help you be more grateful. Further calming the mind through mindfulness can bring to the forefront what really matters. Other ways of increasing gratitude is giving back to others as well as doing more of what you love, including spending time with those you care about. Gratitude then works both ways: Being thankful for what you have as well as increasing things for which to be grateful.

References

  1. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/gratitude/definition
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2016/07/08/8-ways-to-have-more-gratitude-every-day/#7842fdf01d5

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