Reflecting on Gratitude

Many of us associate the idea of gratitude with a simple “thank you” to someone who has helped or given to us. However, gratitude can be much more than a typical two-word response. Gratitude is understood as a positive emotion that serves a greater purpose. It is a profound appreciation that has the ability to produce lasting positivity.

Harvard Medical School offers a helpful definition of gratitude:

“A thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives … As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power”

Gratitude works because it is selfless. Gratuitous acts are done to show appreciation for others and that appreciate is often returned. Simply put, gratitude is contagious. Gratitude can positively impact interpersonal relationships, spiritual well-being, and mental health.

Tips to apply or deepen your gratitude practice:

  1. Spice up your appreciation by trying to find new things you’re thankful for each day.

    1. Create a gratitude game that encourages you to be on “high alert” for things you are thankful for.

    2. Keep a gratitude journal that provides space for meaningful reflection

  2. Get realistic about your personal gratitude practice. Interact with gratitude in a way that feel true to who you are.

  3. Include others in your gratitude practice by vocally expressing your gratitude or writing a personal note of appreciation.

  4. Commit to your gratitude practice. Put an effort, big or small, into your practice each day.

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