Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for
something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied
until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they
have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state
grows stronger with use and practice.
What are the Benefits of Gratitude?
The Greater Good Science Center offers a plethora of information on this subject. In a white
paper titled, “The Science of Gratitude” (2018), they outline several benefits to gratitude
For the individual:
● increased happiness and positive mood
● more satisfaction with life
● less materialistic
● less likely to experience burnout
● better physical health
● better sleep
● less fatigue
● lower levels of cellular inflammation
● greater resiliency
● encourages the development of patience, humility, and wisdom
● increases prosocial behaviors
● strengthens relationships
● may help employees’ effectiveness
● may increase job satisfaction
Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis:
Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with
another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of
that person’s impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if
possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write
one to yourself.
Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has
done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.
Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts
about the gifts you’ve received each day.
Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings —
reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a
number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be
specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.
Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.
Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without
judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), it is also
possible to focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).