What Is Gratitude?


…a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received; thankfulness.
From Midieval Latin gratitudo from Classical Latin gratus, pleasing: grace.

Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that gratitude has two key components, which he describes in a Greater Good essay, “Why Gratitude Is Good.”

“First,” he writes, “it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.”

In the second part of gratitude, he explains, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

Over the past decade, hundreds of studies have documented the social, physical, and psychological benefits of gratitude.

Gratitude brings us happiness: gratitude has proven to be one of the most reliable methods for increasing happiness and life satisfaction; it also boosts feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm, and other positive emotions. On the flip side, gratitude also reduces anxiety and depression.

Gratitude is good for our bodies: …gratitude strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces symptoms of illness, and makes us less bothered by aches and pains. It also encourages us to exercise more and take better care of our health.

Grateful people sleep better: They get more hours of sleep each night, spend less time awake before falling asleep, and feel more refreshed upon awakening.

Gratitude makes us more resilient: It has been found to help people recover from traumatic events, including… veterans with PTSD.

Gratitude strengthens relationships: It makes us feel closer and more committed to friends and romantic partners. When partners feel and express gratitude for each other, they each become more satisfied with their relationship. Taken from an article found at http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/gratitude/definition

Living in my own self-made twisted version of life, I made my way slowly through a maze of heartache, grief and sorrow that was often self-induced. But that is behind me now and I can attest strongly to anyone who will listen: gratefulness is life changing. The difference is not swift, but it is certain and sure when practiced long-term. Today I am grateful for my gratitude that made me whole, taught me how to love and brought happiness to my life.

The miracle of gratitude
is that is shifts your perception
to such an extent
that it changes the world you see.
Dr. Robert Holden