Gratitude is More Powerful than You Think!
We often believe we would be grateful if we were happier. But studies have shown that in fact, it is the other way around: Being grateful beings happiness. In this process, we become more resilient to the challenges thrown our way.
We may come across sudden changes, setbacks, heartaches, griefs, (and in our current situation) a global pandemic. These are inevitable parts of life that we have to deal with no matter what.
People often fail to acknowledge the goodness in their life, and being grateful helps them focus their attention on what is present rather than what they lack. The exercise of being grateful can connect the people to something larger than themselves; to other people, nature, or a higher power. Doing so, helps people build their resilience to adapt, thrive, and bounce back to their baseline faster post adverse experiences.
In times of extreme uncertainty, as we are experiencing adjusting to the “New Normal” COVID-19 reality, it is very important that we practice gratitude to grow our resilience in order to maintain our physical and mental well being.
As stated in an article published by Harvard Medical School, The relatively new field of positive psychology, research on gratitude suggests a strong and consistent link to greater happiness. When people express gratitude, it helps them feel positive emotions, enjoy their good experiences, and boost their heal to deal with adversity and maintain strong relationships.
Benefits of being Grateful
The Latin root word for gratitude is ‘gratia’, which means graciousness, grace, or gratefulness depending on how it’s used.
Gratitude means appreciating what you have and being thankful for it, rather than focusing on what you don’t. It does not being repressing or ignoring the negative but knowing there is always something one can be thankful for in the darkest hour.
Being grateful is another remedy for fear. The way our brains are wired, it is difficult to be grateful and fearful simultaneously.
The benefits are usually split into 5 components
- Emotional benefits
- Social benefits
- Personality benefits
- Career benefits
- Health benefits
According to research findings, being grateful makes us happier. Those who pay attention to what is good in their life instead of what is bad are more likely to feel positive about their life. It increases psychological well being as more gratitude influences a positive well being, self-esteem and decreases symptoms of depression. We can reap the benefits of gratitude through regular practice and commitment. Gratitude also increases the quality of the relationships we have with other people. We tend to feel closer to others when we feel appreciated and also when it is returned in the same manner. We tend to become more optimistic as being grateful not only helps other people feel positive but in return it makes us think positively as well It also has known to Improve decision making at the workplace. Being grateful lessens the likelihood of being impatient during an economic decision making. This leads to better decision-making skills and lesser pressure to desire short term gratification.
Practices to Cultivate Gratitude
Say Thank you
Say Thank You at every opportunity you come across. The other person feels good to have themselves or their work acknowledged. This process builds healthy and trustful relationships. It is important to focus on the benefactor and their qualities as well as on the benefit.
Thank someone mentally.
Even if you do not have time to write, just make a mental note of what good they have done for you.
Keep a gratitude journal
Write down thoughts about the good things that have happened in your day and things you are grateful for. Sharing these thoughts with a loved one is even better.
Count your blessings
Once a week tale time to sit down and reflect on your week, on what went right or what are you grateful for. Pick 5 things you are grateful for and be specific about them while thinking about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.
Praying can be another means to cultivate gratitude. Pray meaningfully and think carefully about what you want to communicate through prayer rather than being vague.
Mindful meditation involves focusing on the moment without any judgment. Although people tend to focus on a particular word or phrase, you can also focus on what you are grateful for; like the warmth of the sun, the sound of the wind, etc.