Graciousness, gratitude and grace seem like foreign words to some people, but for us, they are pillars of everyday life. Today I wanna talk about gratitude. The thanks that make our lives more meaningful and the heartbeat to what we do.
What is Gratitude?
There are three types of gratitude of varying degrees depending on how you think of it.
The first one is a feeling that might be fleeting or temporary and this one is the emotion of gratitude or a temporary feeling one might feel after receiving a gift or favor from someone. It might not be something that sticks around, but is nice to have in the midst of chaos and craziness.
The second one is gratitude as a mood which is a daily fluctuation in overall gratitude. When you wake up on the right side of the bed and it just feels great to be alive.
The third one, and the best kind of gratitude in my humble opinion, is gratitude as an "affective trait". This gratitude is the overall tendency to have a grateful disposition.
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week's assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.
All these things are pointing to the general consensus that when you give thanks, are thankful, think positive and make it your lifestyle you are happier, healthier and tend to give more of that same thing to those around you. We are very grateful for the good and the bad in our lives that have affected us and molded us into who we are today. We have been blessed to have amazing clients who help us become better each day, we have families that have helped us through some tough times, we have friends who are supportive and most of all, we have a savior who loves us even in our darkest of times.
In the end we have learned that life can suck, it is hard and sometimes dirty. We don't always want to look at the positive side because we want to feel how we feel. We have also learned that when you focus on the negative and lose your gratitude it can make the situation worse, not only for you, but for those around you also. We strive every day to live a life of gratitude and say thank you, hold the door open for those around us, know that others need love and caring and kindness also, look for ways to go above and beyond just for the sake of doing so, look for the good in people and situation and focus on that.
The Bible says in Philippians 4:8-9 "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you."
Take some time today to start a habit of thinking on the good things. It can be hard and when you start to do it and make it your lifestyle you will notice so much more joy and peace in your life. I pray you have a fantastic day today and know that God loves you.