What is Gratitude? It’s thanking someone for a gift or for something that was done for you. That’s the one most people know and think of when they see that word.
So what does it mean to get an attitude of gratitude?
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What does gratitude mean?
- Gratitude, thankfulness, or gratefulness, from the Latin word gratus ‘pleasing, thankful’, is a feeling of appreciation felt by and/or similar positive response shown by the recipient of kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity, towards the giver of such gifts.
- The experience of gratitude has historically been a focus of several world religions. It has also been a topic of interest to ancient, medieval and modern philosophers, and continues to engage contemporary philosophers.
- Gratitude is a spontaneous feeling but, increasingly, research demonstrates its value as a practice—that is, making conscious efforts to count one’s blessings. Studies show that people can deliberately cultivate gratitude—and there are important social and personal benefits to doing so. It is possible to feel grateful for loved ones, colleagues, animals, nature, and life in general. The emotion generates a climate of positivity that both reaches inward and extends outward.
- Gratitude is different from other caring emotions such as empathy and compassion because it’s learned. That’s good news, as there are many ways to teach it and model it for your kids. Taking the time to appreciate what you have is one of the keys to cultivating gratitude. Creating a “grateful environment” at home can help kids carry gratitude into the online world as well.
But what is an ATTITUDE of Gratitude?
Quite simply it means to express gratitude for all you have on a regular basis. Some people say they haven’t got anything to be grateful for.
I say that we all have things to be grateful for. A roof over our heads, food, something to drink, the air that we breathe even the fact that we wake up each morning.
And the grumps will say, but others have so much more, so I can’t be grateful when others have more.
I say, the more grateful you are, the more you have to be grateful for. Once you start being grateful you find more and more to be grateful for.
The benefits of gratitude
- Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous. Research reveals gratitude can have these seven benefits:
- Gratitude opens the door to more relationships
- improves physical health
- improves psychological health
- enhances empathy and reduces aggression
- people sleep better
- it improves self-esteem
- increases mental strength
With giving gratitude, people are acknowledging the good that they have in their lives.
Gratitude helps people feel more positive mentally and emotionally. They tend to enjoy good experiences much more, it improves their overall health, helps them deal with adversity so much better, as well as helping to build strong relationships.
How does it affect the brain?
Gratitude can boost the neurotransmitter serotonin and activate the brain stem to produce dopamine. When you feel grateful, you can experience the synchronised activation of many parts of your brain at the same time, giving you many positive effects.
Our minds apparently cannot focus on both positive and negative information at the same time. So by consciously practicing gratitude regularly, we can train the brain to feel the more positive emotions and thoughts which can then reduce feelings of anxiety.
When you get an attitude of gratitude it makes a big difference to your life.
What is the difference between Gratitude and Thankfulness
- Grateful and thankful are expressions or sentiments of appreciation. The two terms are very close in meaning, and as they are synonyms of each other, they share similar attributes. However, there is a difference in the manner in which they are used. Although they appear to offer the same concept, the essence of being grateful goes deeper than being thankful. There are always positive feelings attached to a grateful and thankful person. The close contact between the two words is expressed in a quote from Swiss writer and philosopher Henri Frederic Amiel who wrote:
- Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.
- Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness
So despite their similarities, they are actually different.
Being thankful is more of a brief feeling in return for something and is often an automatic response. Being grateful is a deliberate action, something that is practised often until it is a habit.
How do you start?
You can write a list each day of what you are grateful for. Or list them in your head as you go off to sleep. It’s good to list all the things you were grateful for during the day.
It is also an excellent start to the day to list everything you are grateful for. A roof over your head, clothes, food to eat, loved ones etc.
Some get a gratitude journal preferring to write the list down, others, like me, just list them all in their head. Of course you could list them in your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.
So getting a gratitude habit is good for you. It’s good for health, physical and mental, sleep, self esteem, relationships and more.
Overall it is good for you as it makes you happier too. I really have found that the more grateful you are the more you have to be grateful for.
If you are happier stress is less likely to be a problem too.
Sounds daft but it actually does work. Give it a try and see if it helps you.
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