Search

What Is Gratitude?
What Is Gratitude?
Mary Slattery
Tuesday, November 06, 2018

What Is Gratitude?

Gratitude is one of many positive emotions. It's about focusing on what's good in our lives and being thankful for the things we have.

Gratitude is pausing to notice and appreciate the things that we often take for granted, like having a place to live, food, clean water, friends, family, even computer access. It's taking a moment to reflect on how fortunate we are when something good happens — whether it's a small thing or a big thing.

We can use lots of words to describe feelings of gratitude: We might say we feel thankful, lucky, fortunate, humbled, or blessed.

Why Gratitude Matters

Gratitude doesn't just feel good. Making a habit of gratitude can also be good for us. Like other positive emotions, feeling grateful on a regular basis can have a big effect on our lives. Brain research shows that positive emotions are good for our bodies, minds, and brains.  That is an important part of substance prevention.

  • Positive emotions open us up to more possibilities. They boost our ability to learn and make good decisions.

  • Positive emotions balance out negative emotions. People who often feel grateful and appreciative are happier, less stressed, and less depressed. Gratitude is like a U-turn on complaining or thinking about what we don't have.

  • One positive emotion often leads to another. When we feel grateful, we might also feel happy, calm, joyful, or loving.

  • Gratitude can lead to positive actions. When we feel grateful for someone's kindness toward us, we may be more likely to do a kindness in return. Your gratitude also can have a positive effect on someone else's actions. Thanking people can make it more likely they'll do a kindness again.

  • Gratitude helps us build better relationships. When we feel and express heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to people in our lives, it creates loving bonds, builds trust, and helps you feel closer.

When we make it a habit to feel grateful, it makes us more aware of good things as they happen.

Dig deeper and learn how...