Appreciating what you’ve been given
“Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!”—Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical
Why does gratitude matter?
When you feel gratitude, you feel a sense of abundance. When you express gratitude—especially when it’s heartfelt—you strengthen your relationships with others. Grateful people are happier and more fulfilled. And gratitude leads you to be nicer to other people: more cooperative, patient, and trusting.
Think about how your day is going. How many of these things are true?
- I said “thank you” to someone.
- I did something nice to show my appreciation.
- I can list lots of people and things that I’m lucky to have in my life.
- I noticed when someone helped me.
- I felt a sense of thankfulness.
How do I encourage gratitude in others?
Model it. Talk about the good things that happen to you: “I love this gorgeous spring day!” Reframe difficulties by highlighting positive aspects: “Work has been stressful lately, but I’m grateful that my boss trusts me with important responsibilities.”
Celebrate it. Acknowledge when someone demonstrates gratitude: “It makes me feel really great when you thank me for what I am doing.” Display thank you notes you’ve received where others can see them. Post Three Good Things on social media.
Enable it. Keep stationery handy for writing thank you notes. At dinner, make it a habit to begin by sharing one good thing that happened that day. Establish a birthday ritual to write notes of appreciation.
Practice noticing three good things that happen to you every day.
Record the things you’re grateful for regularly.
Write a letter to someone you’re thankful for and, if you can, read it to them.
About the Authors
Related Thoughts of the Week
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Remembering Walter Mischel.
On the magic of gratitude letters.
Videos about Gratitude
Robert Emmons on Gratitude
Professor Robert Emmons of UC Davis explains the benefits of gratitude and pragmatic ways to include it into your life.
An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness
Demonstrating the power of gratitude letters, five people write them, then read them aloud to the recipients, with emotional results.
Character is more than just gratitude.
There are many other strengths of heart, mind, and will.LEARN MORE ABOUT CHARACTER