How to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

Dr. Purushothaman
October 18, 2013

You may have heard the term "gratitude" tossed about quite a lot in recent months; much like the term "being blessed," it is a term that is being used by many people to describe a certain state of mind or feeling. Put simply, gratitude means being grateful every day for what you already have and what is to come. This feeling of thankfulness can come to permeate your entire existence, shaping and benefitting not only your career, but your relationships, family life, and more.

What Is the Definition of Gratitude?

Showing gratitude means that you demonstrate or acknowledge that you have received a benefit in some form. The most obvious example of showing gratitude is by sending a thank you note to a friend after she has given you a present on your birthday. In writing a letter, sealing the envelope, placing a stamp on it, and mailing it, you are making the effort to show you appreciate the gift she gave you for your special day.

The benefits of gratitude go beyond politeness and the spread of goodwill. In fact, a great deal of research has suggested that expressing gratitude can have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing. This research suggests that those who routinely express their thanks have less stress, fewer instances of depression, and are generally happier and more satisfied with their interpersonal relationships than those who do not do so. In addition, the research suggests that those who routinely cultivate gratitude feel more in control of their lives and deal with difficult situations in more positive ways than those who do not show gratitude often.

Love and Gratitude: Finding the Connection

Gratitude can also be seen as an expression of love for the people you care for in your life. In fact, studies have shown that people with a greater propensity for showing gratitude are usually more altruistic than their colleagues who do not express gratitude. This can even manifest itself in terms of giving money, as studies have shown that grateful individuals give more money to charitable causes than those who are not comfortable with expressing gratitude.

In other words, gratitude can manifest itself as love, even down to the manner in which and the amount we give to charitable causes.

Showing Gratitude in Your Daily Life

So now that you know what the benefits of gratitude are, not just to those you love but for your health and even for communal giving, let's look at how you can cultivate an attitude of gratitude in your daily life. Psychological studies have shown that people can increase their feelings of gratitude by performing simple exercises on a daily basis. These exercises can include writing a letter to someone you feel thankful for, or perhaps writing down a memory of a time when you were grateful for something in your life.

Another common exercise is to keep a gratitude journal, in which you write down something you are grateful for every day. In fact, some people keep a running list of things for which they are grateful, adding two or three items or experiences every day. Keeping a gratitude journal can also be a complementary form of therapy for individuals suffering from depression.

How to Say It: Expressions of Gratitude

If you are ready to embark on your journey towards Gratitude, it might help to read a few quotes on gratitude. Try doing an Internet search on "gratitude sayings" so that you can find a list of pithy thoughts with which to start your path towards feeling grateful.

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