Updated: Dec 9, 2019
The big word "Gratitude"...... when you think of gratitude so many things come to mind... appreciation, thankfulness, joy, love, compassion, glee, blessed.......
As children we are told to be grateful for our blessings. We are told to be grateful for people in our lives, as they won't always be around. We are told to be grateful for the food on our plate, as there are thousands starving across the globe. We are "told" we should be grateful, but were we taught what that means, what that looks like, what that feels like? How to accept it? How to show it to others?
It is one of those lessons thrown into life between school, work, sporting events, music lessons and bedtime. Some people "caught" the lesson; while others are still learning it.
What is "Gratitude"?
Websters describes it as:
Gratitude. GRAT'ITUDE, noun [Latin gratitudo, from gratus, pleasing. See Grace.] An emotion of the heart, excited by a favor or benefit received; a sentiment of kindness or good will towards a benefactor; thankfulness.
www.gratefulness.org refers to Benedictine monk, Br. David Steindl-Rast's wisdom on the subject:
"Brother David suggests that two qualities belong in our basic definition of gratitude. The first is appreciation: You recognize that something is valuable to you, which has nothing to do with its monetary worth. The second quality Br. David mentions is that gratitude is gratis: freely given to you."
Robert Emmons, is perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, also argues that gratitude has two key components: “First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.”
In the second part of gratitude, he explains, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves…We acknowledge that other people…gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”
So gratitude is a heartfelt emotion you feel inside with the awareness that it is a sense of goodness coming externally. When you show gratitude towards others it is given freely creating a sense of goodwill, love, compassion, appreciation and thankfulness. When you receive gratitude from others it helps you to celebrate the present successes and feel value for your offerings of support. It makes you feel pretty good inside.
These are all higher vibrating emotions and feelings; the kind that help your body to heal itself.
This high level emotional range helps you to keep your positive energy levels up. In my last blog, "Crystals For Releasing Anxiety, Fear and Worry" I discussed how the vibrations of the body, both help and hinder the body's own natural ability to heal itself. Negatives vibrations hinder; higher more positive vibrations help to heal.
When you look at the energy scale below, when you feel the more positive emotions and feelings, your body's energy vibration rises. Conversely, when you look at the lower emotions of anger, fear, shame you can clearly note that those negative emotions lower your body's energy vibrations.
It makes sense; when you are happy you have an increase in your energy levels and flow, giving you additional drive and motivation. When you are angry or sad, your energy levels drop considerably making you feel drained and exhausted.
So gratitude helps to raise our body's natural internal energy vibration, in turn helping it to help heal itself at some level. It helps you to focus on the positives aspects of life, instead of the negative ones. It helps you to alleviate envy, resentment and depression because you are seeking out the positives of every situation in which to be grateful.
Scientific Benefits of Demonstrating Gratitude
In the November 2014 edition of Forbes magazine, Amy Morin, Psychotherapist and Author, writes a compelling article on the scientific benefits of showing gratitude. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/11/23/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-gratitude-that-will-motivate-you-to-give-thanks-year-round/#61834a09183c)
Amy highlights the top "7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude":