Much studied in psychology, gratitude is an emotion similar to appreciation. It is about the ability to feel and express gratitude for the positive aspects of one's life.
A powerful element essential to happiness, this simple "thank you" could have the power to bring about transformation on many levels.
The practice of gratitude helps to focus on abundance and happy events in life and to develop positive emotions. Very simply, it allows us to counterbalance the feeling of void that often inhabits us. It's the transition from "To be happy I would need ..." to "I'm grateful to have ... or to be ...".
Enjoying what we often take for granted, such as a family, a home and good health for example, makes us appreciate everyday life more and contributes to a feeling of well-being. Gratitude also encourages one to look behind and appreciate the progress made and to congratulate oneself on one's successes.
According to Robert Emmons, professor of psychology and author of the book Thank You!, practicing gratitude takes your attention away from "self" and redirects it to others and what they bring to us. Not surprisingly, all relationships benefit: the more we say thank you to the people around us, the more they show their appreciation, and the more opportunities we have to say thank you again! This is how a beautiful virtuous circle takes place.
According to some studies, gratitude promotes better health. Indeed, those who practice it regularly would take better care of themselves, including more physical activity and better food choices. The feeling of gratitude would also improve the quality and duration of sleep, resistance to stress and increase the feeling of determination as well as self-esteem.
Practicing gratitude only takes a few moments and can be done in a number of ways:
In summary, practicing gratitude is a tremendous asset in reducing stress and anxiety, developing positive thoughts, improving relationships with others, and increasing life satisfaction and sense of well-being.
Thank yourself today!
Emmons, Robert. (2008). Merci! Éditions Belfond, Paris, 298 pages.
Williams, L. A., & Bartlett, M. Y. (2015). Warm thanks: Gratitude expression facilitates social affiliation in new relationships via perceived warmth. Emotion, 15(1), 1-5.
Wood, Alex M & al. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research; 66 (1): 43-48.