Have you ever done something good for someone repeatedly it always seems like your efforts are not being appreciated but a little mistake would seem as though you have never done anything good. If you have, then how did you feel?
This brings us to the issue of gratitude. What is gratitude? Gratitude is a conscious, positive emotion that can be expressed when one is grateful for something, tangible or intangible. It’s a practice that entails acknowledging someone else’s gesture towards us or the good things in our lives. It entails the process of recognizing both the positive and its outcome. It has to do with expressing our appreciation for what others have done for us.
Showing gratitude has benefits or advantages both to the person showing appreciation and the person receiving it. Gratitude improves the well-being of the giver and the recipient. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, lower levels of depression, and build strong relationships. It allows people (the receiver) to feel that they are needed and that their efforts are valued.
Gratitude expressed through recognition of someone’s good work confirms that the work is valued. When our work is valued, we are more satisfied and perform better. Feeling genuinely appreciated makes us feel secure, which allows us to perform at our best. It makes us feel good about what we do when someone takes the time to express their heartfelt appreciation for something we’ve done. It increases self-esteem, confidence, and overall self-image. It energizes and motivates us to work harder and accomplish more.
The story of Jesus and the ten lepers teaches us the importance of giving thanks/gratitude. The man who came back to Jesus to give thanks was made whole. Jesus gave thanks for five loaves of bread and two fishes when he fed the five thousand and there was an increase. Gratitude is the key to receiving more.
Often, we focus more on the things we can’t have rather than the things we have. And this will make us to be ungrateful. A songwriter said, “Count your many blessings and it will surprise you what the Lord has done”. For some people as expectations change, gratitude has diminished. Possessions and health are expectations for many individuals rather than considered personal ‘blessings’ that are appreciated. Gratitude has, for many, been replaced by disappointment, anger, and resentment when these expected ‘blessings’ either do not appear or they disappear.
We miss out on the joy of gratitude because we tend to want more and to be dissatisfied with what we have. Being grateful and appreciating our life as it is, is necessary for truly enjoying it. We must express gratitude to God, to the people around us who have been a blessing in no little way, to the things we have, etc.
Gratitude teaches us to appreciate what we have rather than always striving for something new in the hope that it will make us happier. Practicing gratitude helps us to stop believing that we will not be satisfied until all of our physical and material needs are met. Gratitude allows us to refocus on what we have rather than what we lack.
There are ways to cultivate gratitude daily and here are some of the ways:
Thank Someone Mentally
Probably you might not have time to write a note. You can think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the person.
Keep a gratitude journal
You can write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day. Continually Count your blessings daily. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings. Think about the positive things or what you are grateful for. As you write, be specific and think about the way you felt when something good happened to you.
You can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.
Write a thank-you note
Nurture your relationship with people by writing a thank-you letter or email expressing your gratitude for that person’s impact on your life. This can also make you happy.