What is Gratitude?
The Origin of Gratitude
The word gratitude comes from a Latin origin - 'gratia', meaning gratefulness or graciousness. Gratitude encompasses a lot of positive feelings in different contexts. It is a gesture of appreciation, thankfulness, and grace for what a person receives from someone. It could be for material gains, debts, or an emotional or social bond. Gratitude strengthens emotions and brings out the goodness in a person. It is a positive reinforcement that leads to a relaxed mind and healthy life.
What Gratitude Does to You
Gratitude is a prime essence of life, a virtue that most people ignore as a part of their daily lives. It is a form of thanking people who have done a lot for you, thanking your benefactors, and in the larger scheme of things, thanking the Universe for the incredible gift of life. Being grateful fosters positivity, goodness, and contentment. Expressing gratitude leads to joy, broadens the mind, relieves the heart of burden, and helps lead a happy and satisfied life.
Benefits of Gratitude
Coping with Stress
Being appreciative of what you have helps cope with the stress of daily life. Gratitude is one emotion that many people experience after a trauma. It gives the strength to face the difficulties in life, knowing that there are people who have been through worse. It makes the traumas less intense, and helps cope with stresses and anxieties.
Gratitude Improves Sleep
This might sound philosophical, but desire is the root cause of negativity. People are never satisfied with what they have - there's always a want for more. This leads to dissatisfaction, greed, restlessness, loss of sleep, and ultimately poor health. Being thankful and appreciative for whatever we have in life promotes satisfaction and selflessness, and makes us more benevolent than earlier. Such positive thoughts lead to peaceful sleep and good health.
Gratitude helps reinforce positive feelings and optimism in life. It makes us feel that there is a lot to live for, and nothing that happens is ever the end of life. Even when faced with serious problems, we'll learn to face it in a better way, rather than panicking. These experiences help us stay grounded, positive, and have a strong feeling of seizing the maximum out of life.
Gratitude makes you help others and develop a more humane side of yourself. Care and compassion come naturally. It makes you a hundred times more sensitive towards people and what they go through. You also learn to reciprocate towards acts of kindness, which makes you grateful for the little humanity that's left in the world. In time, you are purged of dishonesty, lying, deceit, and ego. You set high morals and values for yourself when you express gratitude.
Gratitude will help get rid of failures and disappointments. Being thankful for what you have, focusing on the happy side of things instead of whining, and looking up to grateful people will help increase your respect for them. Alongside, you'll have a renewed respect for yourself as well. Gratitude helps realize self-worth, improve self-esteem, and muster dignity. It gives the strength to value what is in hand.
Shutting Out Comparisons
For the average man, more often than not, comparison with others becomes a necessity to the point of obsession. Concentrating on what others have and what you don't can be venomous to the soul. Gratitude helps erase unnecessary comparisons. You'll stop worrying about why Mr. Brown has a better car, or Ms. Marilyn has shinier hair than you do. You have what you need, be grateful for the same, and that's all that matters.
Don't Take Things for Granted
Hedonic treadmill, as it is called, is the tendency to return to normalcy after a major change. Though this is admirable, it could be toxic; adapting to a positive event is rather easy, the opposite is not. If life is taken for granted, one can never be prepared for major setbacks. Gratitude helps one stay in place, adjust to any situation - positive or negative.
Dissolution of Negativity
The expression of gratitude helps abate a person of all anger, resentment, anxiety, guilt, grudges, and envy. When one begins to view the essence of life from outside the fuchsia pink bubble, all the negative emotions and feelings are resolved. You'll feel like a new person, and you'll treat each day and every minute as a treasured gift.
Being grateful helps build and strengthen social bonds and personal relationships. When you are grateful for the person who loves you, people who treasure your friendship, and those who value your expertise, you treat them better, love them more, and make efforts to maintain relationships. All this eventually leads to a wonderful, loving atmosphere around you.
How Can You be More Grateful?
If you aren't the type of person to feel or express gratitude naturally, there are certain ways to be more grateful in life. Let go of your ego, learn that you cannot control everything, and live in the moment. Understand why it's important for you to be grateful. Make a gratitude list, meditate, control your thoughts, and resist unnecessary temptations. Eventually, you'll get rid of your vanity and learn to be more grateful.