One of the many known examples of intentional activity that can increase your well-being and happiness is regular exercise, even though we often don’t act on it. Other ways to increase your happiness are certain types of cognitive activity, such as reframing situations in a more positive light or pausing to count your blessings and striving for important personal goals. Yet another one, possibly less known, is being kind to others and expressing gratitude.
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin root gratia, meaning grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. All derivatives from this Latin root have to do with kindness, generousness, gifts, the beauty of giving and receiving, or getting something for nothing. Gratitude has been conceptualized as many different things: an emotion, an attitude, a moral virtue, a habit, a personality trait, or a coping response. Call it what you want, quite a few studies show that expressing gratitude can have profound effects on both the gratitude provider and the gratitude recipient. There is good reason why expressing gratitude is making it’s way into addiction treatment, mental health therapy, school activities, corporate coaching and other fields.
This Thanksgiving Weekend I am grateful for many things, often small things, often the things that I almost take for granted. I won’t bore you with my list, but I do wish to leave you with this: If you look inside, if you look around you, if you practice being aware, if you live in the moment and if you know how to take on different perspectives in life, what else can be the result than gratitude? Just leaves you to express it, abundantly and authentically. Go do it.