If you ask five people what gratitude means to them, chances are you will get different variations of the same answer. This is because gratitude is a universal concept. Showing appreciation is very important, not only to the people who it is said to but to the people who say it as well.
Studies have shown that gratitude helps to improve relationships between people whether they are professional or personal relationships. It also leads to having a positive mindset this leads to better physical health condition. When you are in a good mental state you are more likely to sleep better and that means avoiding stress as well as anxiety. By being well rested you are able to be mindful of people’s feelings and the situations that they are going through. This makes a person more relatable to society when they can extend kindness to others.
When facing adversity, finding something or someone to appreciate helps us keep our focus on what we consider important in our lives. One way through which people practice gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. When we write down what we are grateful for, this helps us remember and keep us in good moods. When we are in a good mood, we are less likely to feel depressed or anxious which is beneficial to our mental health. Studies have shown that when we feel grateful, we are less likely to experience stress and are able to be strong enough to deal with adversity much better. All this allows the brain to have a larger concept of understanding which gives a person more mental awareness.
In Christianity, gratitude goes a lot deeper as it is influenced by our faith in God. The Christian Bible discusses from the beginning to the end the importance of giving thanks and being happy. In Christianity, gratitude is considered a virtue that should be upheld. Christians are encouraged to practice it as it leads to the path of a good life. A good life for Christians means living according to God’s word and hopefully, that leads to one’s soul going to heaven after death. The bible tells Christians to “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God through Jesus Christ for you.” There are several bible stories that capture the essence of gratitude from the story of Hannah who for years prayed for a child till God answered her prayers. The story of Mary the mother of Jesus who was still grateful for her pregnancy even though it would have been a scandal (getting pregnant before marriage). The main ways gratitude was shown in the bible was through prayer as well as singing. It is a way of worshiping and honoring God.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God through Jesus Christ for you.”
Gratitude is not only an emotion but also a personality trait for some people. This is something that can be learnt by anyone who feels that they need a little more gratitude in their lives. Apart from writing on a daily journal about what you are grateful for, you can start by being a little less critical about everything around you. Start looking for things that make you happy, focus on that and show appreciation for it. Another way to practice gratitude is through volunteer work, by helping those less fortunate it might help you be more thankful of what you have. Try to spend time with your loved ones and find genuine ways to express yourself. Research has proven that people who lead authentic lives are happier and more grateful than those who are not.
Practicing gratefulness is not always easy, but you only have to start with a small step. Each step everyday brings you closer to feeling fulfilled. It is not the big things that always count, it is that small actions that almost always goes unseen. Find joy in every area of your life, smile more and be more hopeful. That will bring gratitude closer to your heart.