The key to greater happiness? Gratitude!
Yes, having a grateful heart brings many benefits to one’s health and well-being. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
In a study by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, they found out that people who focus on things to be thankful for are more optimistic and healthier than those who always think of their aggravations.
Other studies on couples also showed that gratitude improves relationships because expressing thanks makes it easier to voice out concern to one’s partner as well. However, it was also noted that the positive effects of gratitude depend on a person’s emotional maturity.
Here are ways to cultivate a grateful heart and a gracious spirit:
- Write a thank-you note or email. Make someone happy by sending them letters of appreciation, or, better yet, read these personally to them. Write a thank-you note at least once a month. And don’t forget to write a letter to yourself too!
- If you have no time to write a thank-you note, then thank the person to whom you feel grateful for in your heart and mind. This will lift up your spirit and help to fill your whole being with graciousness.
- Have a gratitude journal. Take note of the gifts you receive and those people who have given you something tangible or intangible that has added to your happiness.
- Count your blessings. Every week, write down the blessings you’ve received. Be specific about them, recalling how they’ve made your life happier and richer.
- Praying and thanking God is another great way to cultivate a grateful heart.
- Meditation may also help you to become gracious in spirit, because it helps you focus on the positive.
This story from an Original Poster with the username u/LongSufferingSquid has an important lesson for everyone: It’s always best to take the time to thank someone. And yes, you should say thank you to the person or organization who’s given you a gift in gratitude and appreciation of your work, effort, etc.
Posting on Reddit’s r/MaliciousCompliance, OP wrote, “Recently, management issued a gift card to each member of my team as a thank you for the good work we do. The gift card is for a snack website. All well and good. But they’ve started badgering us to take a pic of the snacks and stuff we got and share the pic with the team. The most recent reminder was emailed to us during the busiest part of our day. Fine. I put aside my work, stop taking calls, and go digging through my cabinets for the snacks I’d already put away. Pull out the snacks, arrange them artfully, take a pic, and submit it. Then I put the snacks away, clean up the mess I made, and get back to work.”
Was OP happy? She added to her post, “The gain: Management gets a warm fuzzy. The loss: About 30 minutes of productivity. The customer calls: Super backed up. Keep it sleazy, management.”
Well, somebody did get a good feeling from OP’s effort. But OP regretted the loss of half an hour and seems to nurture not much appreciation for her superiors, the gift cards, and her job. Just as it’s been said by Harvard Health Publishing, gratitude depends on a person’s emotional maturity.