What is gratitude? Is it an emotion, virtue, or a vibe?
Formal definition Merriam-Webster
the state of being grateful; expressing gratitude for support
Three types of gratitude. “Psychologists have categorized gratitude into the following…”
gratitude as an “affective trait” (one’s overall tendency to have a grateful disposition),
a mood (daily fluctuations in overall gratitude),
and an emotion (a more temporary feeling of gratitude that one may feel after receiving a gift or a favor from someone). -S. Allen, PhD
Why does it matter
Psychologists and researchers have found that, over time, feeling grateful can increase happiness and cultivate physical and mental health -Psychology Today
Studies show that practicing gratitude decreases negativity and negative emotions and reduces feelings of resentment and envy. This in turn can reduce ruminating, which is a cardinal sign of depression.- PT
Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can reduce stress. -PT
Other studies have noted that gratitude can aid you in better self care.
“Psychology Today suggests that one study suggests that spending only a few minutes engaging in a gratitude activity, such as writing a letter of gratitude to a loved one, can motivate you to make healthy food choices.”
The Science of Gratitude “Getting a bit more scientific, there are a multitude of benefits in practicing gratitude"
Benefits of practicing gratitude
Feel happier overall
Boosts heart health
Soothes the nervous system
Reduces blood pressure
Encourages healthy behaviors (see above study- eating healthier)
Aids in building, strengthening, and maintaining relationships with others (Find-Remind-Bind theory of gratitude)
Improves well being of marriage/partnerh-ships
Fosters better work outcomes (cohesiveness, team work, more productive)
Increases performance (grateful workers are high performers)
Increases job satisfaction
Gratitude is contagious.Gratitude is a social emotion and the expression of gratitude toward others compounds its benefits. The emotion literally pays itself forward. And it almost does not matter whether the gratitude is communicated or reciprocated by others.
Ways to cultivate Gratitude in your life.
How to practice gratitude (gratitude is not a me idea, it is acknowledging others and the goodness they put out in the world)
Affirm the good things we have
Acknowledge what others contribute to our lives
Great and easy way to practice gratitude (talk about personal experience with this activity)
5 Ways to Practice Gratitude Daily
Keep a gratitude journal
Reflect on the bad.
Share your gratitude with others (conversation, letters, and or social media)
Ask yourself three questions
What have I received from —----?
What have I given to —----?
What troubles and difficulties have I caused?
Use subtraction activity.
Think about what your life would be like without “x” and be grateful for those things/experiences.
Brandy- Stronger Connections
Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu Ed.D kinda sums it up best! “By beginning with gratitude we move away from victimization and toward empowerment. Gratitude enables us to overcome blame and take responsibility for our own lives and to do what we can for others. "Seeing" and affirming the goodness in each other helps people realize that they are all no more than imperfect human beings, stimulating mutual healing in a community context.”