Gratitude in psychology refers to a person’s feeling and internal disposition. When you hear words of gratitude from another person, you feel appreciated and needed.
So, what is gratitude? First, it’s important to understand that everything we receive is a gift. If you don’t know what to be grateful for in life, try keeping a gratitude journal or practicing gratitude meditation. What are these exercises, and how does a sense of gratitude affect your life? You can learn everything in our article.
How can gratitude change your life?
Gratitude allows you to be a content and happy person regardless of your external circumstances or wealth. People who feel grateful are better able to cope with stress, get sick less often, sleep better, and have more energy. Thanks to gratitude, the risk of developing mental disorders such as depression also decreases. Emotions such as anger, fear, envy, and jealousy are less frequent.
The attitude of gratitude means that we do not have to compare ourselves to others and that we are equal. This makes us feel more peaceful and helps us avoid unnecessarily stressful lives. The positive emotions associated with gratitude reduce the risk of infections and chronic diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and cancer.
On the other hand, a lack of gratitude puts us in a spiral of constant dissatisfaction – with ourselves, with the people around us, with circumstances or with things we have. We feel that others are better off than us and we struggle with feelings of injustice. Then we can also force other people to conform to our expectations. This is dangerous, especially when a demanding and constantly complaining person enters a relationship.
A person who is not grateful is constantly dissatisfied with their partner and tries to express it in various ways. They may be prone to toxic behavior such as pathological jealousy, excessive control, manipulation, and violence. Lack of gratitude can increase the risk of relationship breakdown and subsequent divorce.
Gratitude has a positive impact on relationships with other people. They feel comfortable in our company and also that we accept them and love them as they are. When they hear our words of gratitude, they feel appreciated, important, and needed. They are more willing to help us and enjoy spending time with us. When we feel grateful, we also positively influence others.
Gratitude journal – how to maintain it?
What can we be grateful for in life when all external circumstances seem unfavorable? It is easy to feel grateful when everything goes according to our expectations, but harder when we are struggling with problems or crisis. In such cases, it is good to start a gratitude journal. This method involves regularly searching for reasons to be thankful and writing them down in a notebook. It can be done every day, every other day, or once a week.
It should be written as concisely and specifically as possible. Reasons for gratitude can include things like a conversation with a loved one, sunny weather, good health, or eating a favorite meal. They don’t have to be big things – a person can be grateful for practically anything – even difficulties, because they often lead to growth and help us understand people with similar problems.
Gratitude meditation – how to practice it?
Gratitude can also be practiced through meditation techniques. This practice combines relaxation, breathing, and words of gratitude in your mind. Sit upright and focus your attention only on your breathing for about 10 minutes.
Observe what is happening inside you and how your body reacts. We focus on the heart area, which allows us to release the feeling of gratitude. This way we can realize that we have been given the gift of life without any merit. Then we start thinking about what we can be grateful for and what good has happened to us. You can also slowly and calmly repeat a chosen gratitude phrase. Some words of appreciation may include: “Thank you for being healthy,” “Thank you for such a beautiful world,” “I am grateful for being able to breathe.