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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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