Gratitude Is A Gift
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
Gracious: generosity of spirit
I talk a lot about the different “feel good” emotions that impact our health and well-being. There is a strong body of science behind things like mindfulness, broaden and build theory, and happiness that can help us on our journey from chronically ill to chronically awesome. Gratitude is one of those feel good things that have become more than just a thank you, it has become a science. So, let’s talk about it and the impact of gratitude on how it makes us feel and how it can help us our health.
When someone tells me I am appreciated it is something entirely overwhelming. I am not always sure that I have done much or worked very hard at a thing until one day, seemingly out of the blue, someone will thank me for something. It is at that moment that you could blow me over with a feather.
There is a rush of emotions comes from receiving gratitude. It is at that moment when I stop for a breath so that I may be with that person in the moment. I get a contact high. That is what gratitude does. This happened to me recently. I am overwhelmed with an appreciation for appreciation.
You, Me, We Need Gratitude
Being told you had some kind of a positive impact is not a small thing. It is life affirming to a person like me, a helping person. I do not think, however, that I am unique.
Parents, teachers, and doctors certainly need gratitude. The people we talk to on the phone who walk us through fixing products that broke, through no fault of theirs, that take on every angry customer’s ire certainly need gratitude. How many people can you think of that deserve your gratitude? How do you express your gratitude? A thank you? A note? A Yelp review? Some Facebook post or other public declaration of their incredible skill?
Back In The Moment
I need to think more about this, and I need to think about this more. If getting appreciation feels good, I need to seek out more opportunities to give this beautiful gift. Gratitude is not just for the recipient; it is also for the giver. Thanking someone, doing a kind thing, whatever form your gratitude takes will make you feel good. Expressing thanks will bring back that moment that you received the graciousness of that giver. This graciousness is how you are both brought together, again, into that place, and back to that feeling.
Debt of Gratitude
Gratitude is not ‘owed’ like the debt many call it. “You owe him a debt of gratitude!” If you show gratitude out of some feeling of obligation, then it is half-hearted. Showing sincere gratitude should make you feel good. You are not paying a debt you are giving a gift. You are giving a gift just as powerful as the gift that was given by that person to you.
In the same manner, doing a thing and expecting thanks it is not a gift. Expecting gratitude is extending a loan, creating debt. You have not told that person they are in debt. The problem with that way of doing things for others is, you will constantly be waiting for your double-secret probation debts to be repaid to you. It is likely that you will be waiting for repayment in a specific way.
This will always leave you feeling empty.
Stop thinking about who should be grateful to you and begin by showing gratitude to and for others. A ‘Thank You’ is a good start. You can even, simply, tell someone that you care.
Gratitude Is Healthy
In his article, “What Can the Brain Reveal about Gratitude?“, Glenn Fox describes all of these benefits and more.
You will make someone feel good, and you will feel good. (video) Who knows, maybe we can all get in on this good and gracious, gratitude movement that used to be a part of something called ‘manners.’ More appropriately, in this time of ever growing angst, think of it as a known ingredient to the recipe for happiness. Happiness for you, happiness for the one who receives this gift.