Embracing gratitude


2 min read

What is gratitude?

Gratitude can be understood and measured in both ‘trait’ and ‘state’ terms.

- Trait refers to a distinguished characteristic that is more or less stable over time and trait gratitude refers to the consistent feelings of gratitude people experience in life.

-On the other hand, state gratitude refers to the extent to which grateful emotions (gratitude, thankfulness, and appreciation) are experienced on a given day.

While state gratitude might therefore depend on the events of a particular day, trait gratitude is a stable affective characteristic that is mostly unaffected by single events.

The benefits of practicing gratitude include:

-reduction in stress;

-increase in pleasant emotions;

-increase in self-control;

-increase in self-esteem;

-Increase in empathy;

-better quality of your sleep;

-reduction in depressive thoughts and rumination (excessively thinking of the same painful experience).

How does gratitude work?

According to Alkozei, Smith & Killgore (2018), gratitude can expand a person's ability to interpret negative or ambiguous situations more positively, having positive memories from the past and paying more attention to positive rather than negative stimuli; this then builds emotional and physical resources under stress, leading to better emotional health and a state of well-being.

Practicing gratitude also increases both the amount of social support offered and received, which has a positive impact on the quality of relationships. Such increases in well-being can lead to greater feelings of gratitude which increases the sense of positive emotions which increases the sense of gratitude even further, and so on and on creating a spiral effect.

How to practice gratitude?

-Reflect on past experiences. 🍃

What experience are you grateful for having?

Who is the person you’re grateful that you’ve met?

What is different in your life from last year that you’re grateful for?

What/Who made you smile today?

-Try to practice it in the now. 🌱

What are you grateful for at this moment?

When you look around, what are you grateful for?

Think about the person you feel thankful to - let them know.

-Think about your future from the lens of appreciation. 🌾

What would your future self be grateful to you for doing today?

What’s something you’re looking forward to in the future?

How can I help someone today or sometime soon?

Reframing your mind’s focus from what you have to do to what you get to do is a way to practice gratitude as well, so ask yourself - What do you get to do today?

To get into the habit of practicing gratitude, find a reminder that works for you. Be that a little rock you carry in your pocket that reminds you to think of what you’re grateful for, or a convenient prompting question via your Mindletic app, getting into the habit of expressing gratitude is the way of exercising your mind to focus on the things you value in life.