Is Gratitude The Key To Unlocking Happiness?
What is your answer to the question “what do you wish most for in your life?”
Most people will have a variation of the answer: “I wish for happiness”. Even the Greek philosopher, Aristotle said every man and woman is in pursuit of happiness. But what if I tell you that happiness is an illusion and pursuing happiness, most times rather lead to perceptions of nightmares. What if the illusive “happiness” can be found in a simple act of thanks giving and gratitude?
Gratitude is a celebration,affirmation recognition of the good in life. It is not ignoring the negative aspects of life, it is acknowledging the blessings you receive. These blessings are to be found in both the positive and negative experiences in life, as the positive experiences make us rest in our growth and the negative experiences make us grow out of our rest. Gratitude is available to everyone, everywhere, anytime.
The benefits of an attitude of gratitude:
Gratefulness increases emotional well-being.
Grateful people achieve more.
Grateful people get along better with others.
Grateful people pay it forward.
Grateful people are less depressed.
Grateful people are more resilient to trauma.
Gratitude is good medicine:
-There is a reduction in perceived stress (28%) and depression (16%) in health care practitioners.
-23% lower levels of stress hormones, Cortisol.
-Reduced feelings of hopelessness in 88% of suicidal inpatients.
-15-18% more efficient sleep.
-Improved inflammatory biomarkers in heart failure patients.
-Reduced risk of depression in patients by 41% over a six-month period.
-Dietary fat intake reduced by 25%.
-15% lower depression in arthritis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome patients.
-25-33% increase in physical exercise.
Gratitude AMPLIFIES, RESCUES, AND CONNECTS according to Robert A. Emmons, PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of California.
Why does gratitude work?
Gratitude amplifies and magnifies the perceived good in our lives. Perceived negative experiences also deserve an attitude of gratitude as it is the negative experiences, the perceived failures, the perceived unsuccesses that oftentimes bring out the best in people.
Gratitude amplifies the value of future rewards (delayed gratification) and gratitude is considered to be the new willpower.
Gratitude rescues us from ingratitude, anxiety, depression, helplessness and hopelessness, Gratitude takes our focus off ourselves.
There are two (opposite) ways of looking at life:
The lens of abundance vs. the lens of scarcity.
What life is offering vs. what life is denying.
Life as a gift vs. life as a burden.
What I have been given vs. what I am owed.
Gratitude connects and is called the moral memory of mankind. It creates bonds between people and stitches together. A little thank you goes a long way, but a little gratitude goes further. Children are not notoriously ungrateful. Gratitude is a skill that can be developed.
“I believe that life is not always fair. It has certainly been true in my case. It is not fair that I should have wonderful, caring, supportive parents who raised me right, and brothers and sisters that are there when I need them. It’s not fair that I should be blessed with a beautiful, talented wife and together we should have two equally beautiful talented daughters who make us proud daily. No, life is not fair. Why should I have had so many years of good health and energy and good friends to camp and backpack with through the years…ALS is a terrible disease, but it does not negate the rest of my life.”
–49 yr. old male with ALS
“The more grateful you are, the more you have to be grateful for”
Dr. John Demartini