Gratitude, thankfulness or gratefulness, from the Latin word gratus meaning “pleasing” or “thankful”, is regarded as a feeling of appreciation by a recipient of another’s kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other forms of generosity to the giver of such gifts. Gratitude is a warm feeling of thankfulness towards the world, or towards specific individuals. The person who feels gratitude is thankful for what they have, and does not constantly seek more. An attitude of gratitude means making the conscious habit of expressing appreciation on a regular basis for big and small things alike.
Attitude Of Gratitude:What Is Gratitude?
There are lots of things to be grateful for. Though life may be full of ups and downs. Of failures and successes. Of sadness and joy. Of giving up and bouncing back.
Of losing hope and of making progress. Of faintheartedness and of determination. Of trials and of tribulations. Of acceptance and of rejection. Of sorrows and pain.
Of belief and unbelief. Of beauty and ugliness. Of struggles, stress, strain, and strife. Of pretense, fake and original. Of rebellion and obedience.
Of karma, revenge, and forgiveness. Of anger and of negativity. Of insecurity, naivety, and being taken advantage of. Of tests, exams, and judgments. Of sacrifice, letting go, and letting God in.
Of hurt, betrayal, and mercy. Of positivity and of good things. Filled with changes, new seasons, opportunities, time ticking, waiting for no one. Of fear, anxiety, and courage. Of grace and compassion.
Of love and hatred. Of deliverance and of restoration with compensation. Of difficult times, unbearable seasons, and happy times. Of wailing, screaming, crying, and dancing.
Most people have an instinctive understanding of gratitude, but it can be tricky to define. Is it an emotion? A virtue? A behavior? Indeed, gratitude can mean different things to different people in other contexts. However, researchers have developed some frameworks for conceptualizing gratitude so that it can be studied scientifically.
For example, Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough define gratitude as a two-step process: 1) “recognizing that one has obtained a positive outcome” and 2) “recognizing that there is an external source for this positive outcome.” While most of these positive benefits come from other people—hence gratitude’s reputation as an “other-oriented” emotion—people can also experience gratitude toward God, fate, nature, etc. Some psychologists further categorize three types of gratitude: gratitude as an “affective trait” (one’s overall tendency to have a grateful disposition), a mood (daily fluctuations in general gratitude), and an emotion (a more temporary feeling of gratitude that one may feel after receiving a gift or a favor from someone).
Social And Cultural Factors Linked To An Attitude Of Gratitude
Research also suggests that social factors—including religion, cultural influences, and parenting styles—may influence a person’s tendency to experience gratitude. Multiple studies report associations between religious, spiritual, and dispositional gratitude elements, suggesting that there may be a link between religion and gratitude. One study found that people assigned to pray for their partner or pray in general for four weeks reported higher appreciation at the end of the study than those assigned to think about their daily activities or think positive thoughts about their partner. However, another study found that priming people to think about religious concepts did not increase their gratitude or generosity. Culture may also influence people’s experiences of appreciation.
For example, one study found that men in the United States reported experiencing gratitude less frequently when compared with Germany. Another study found that American, Brazilian, Chinese, and Russian children differed in the ages and extent to which they expressed different forms of gratitude.
Individual Benefits Of An Attitude Of Gratitude
Research suggests that gratitude may be associated with many benefits for individuals, including better physical and psychological health, increased happiness and life satisfaction, decreased materialism, and more. A handful of studies suggest that more grateful people may be healthier. Others indicated that scientifically designed practices to increase gratitude can also improve people’s health and encourage them to adopt healthier habits. Many more studies have examined possible connections between gratitude and various elements of psychological well-being. In general, more grateful people are happier, more satisfied with their lives, less materialistic, and less likely to suffer from burnout.
Additionally, some studies have found that gratitude practices, like keeping a “gratitude journal” or writing a letter of gratitude, can increase people’s happiness and overall positive mood. Gratitude may also benefit people with various medical and psychological challenges. For example, one study found that more grateful cardiac patients reported better sleep, less fatigue, and lower cellular inflammation levels. Another found that heart failure patients who kept a gratitude journal for eight weeks were more grateful and had reduced signs of inflammation afterward.
Several studies have found that more grateful people experience less depression and are more resilient following traumatic events. Other studies suggest that gratitude may live up to its reputation as “the mother of all virtues” by encouraging the development of other virtues such as patience, humility, and wisdom.
The Attitude of Gratitude mindset teaches us the importance of seeking the positives from every experience and being thankful for all that we have. We learn that we can use the positives and negatives of our lives as a stepping stone to success. Choose the positives, and we are on our way toward extraordinary success; choose the negatives, and embark on a path toward disappointment, resentment, and suffering. This article is designed to help you focus on everything you have, leaving no time to be distracted by what you lack or desire.
The 4 Critical Components Of Attitude Of Gratitude:
1. Treasure Yourself – We create the beautiful lives we want by harvesting the great things within us. We often don’t like things about ourselves, but we must recognize that we’re made of far more beautiful things than we actually realize. We need to acknowledge our own worth and see our uniqueness as something to treasure and develop so we can live the extraordinary lives we’re meant to live.
2. Be More Grateful – We all have the choice to focus on the good or the bad in life. If we focus on the positive things, they expand and guide us down the path to our dreams. If we spend our time in regret, jealousy, and anger, then the negatives multiply, and we likely find our plans sidelined and our goals unattained. We must simply be more grateful, reflecting as much as possible on the good things in our lives and those that are coming to us.
3. Thankfulness – One of the best and quickest ways to feel better and become happier is to do something for someone else. And the easiest, as well as one of the most powerful things we can do for someone, is express gratitude for who they are and what they mean to us. Thanking someone provides two beautiful gifts: it makes the other person feel good and makes us happy at the same time.
4. Elevate Your Perspective – People who have achieved extraordinary lives point to moments of great adversity and challenge when they learned a critical lesson or built the essential skill that allowed them to be successful. Knowing this, we understand why it is crucial to seek the positives from all situations, even those that seem completely negative. When we do this, we get better, learn, and grow in ways that help us to live richer and fuller lives.
What Is An Attitude Of Gratitude?
An attitude of gratitude is an orientation toward God that rejects the twin idols of our modern world: “I deserve” and “I despair” and replaces them with faith rooted in thanksgiving. We can walk in this new direction because we encounter the God who is not some distant, disinterested old man sitting far away on a cloud; but because in Jesus, God comes and makes his home with us, in my kitchen, in your backyard.
God who is all in all, in whom we live and move and have our being, who is the source of all of creation, the sustainer of all the universe, the companion to us all no matter whether the news of the day is marvelous or tragic or simply mundane. An attitude of gratitude, unlike mindless optimism or death-dealing pessimism, is able to accept, with grace, whatever life may bring: whether the news of the day is a newly born granddaughter or whether the news of the day is a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in a loved one. We can take it even further.
An attitude of gratitude is the natural human condition: not because of who we are, but because of who God is. We are created to give thanks. To withhold gratitude is like holding your breath — it’s not natural! And there is something else too. We can live an attitude of gratitude when our life is great. Also, when our life is terrifying because just like the Samaritan, Prodigal Son, unjust steward, and the girl caught in the very act of adultery, God loves and accepts us the way we are.
He’s not after us at our best; God is after us as we are… Gratitude is not so much a feeling as it is a way of life. We have all experienced or seen others experience situations in life that feel more like curses — and in those times, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to feel grateful.
If we begin to accept gratitude, not as a feeling, but rather as a way of acting and living, what we may come to experience is a life lived that “presumes upon the grace of God,” in other words, we may find in gratitude a way of living that is God-centered. We begin to depend on God’s grace for all that we need, for all that we are.
Attitude Of Gratitude:5 Reasons To Give Thanks
1 GRATITUDE DRAWS US CLOSER TO GOD: Thankfulness is a powerful means of drawing near to God. It makes us take notice of how God is present in our lives. When we pause to acknowledge what God has done and what he has given us, we become more aware that God is gracious, loving, and kind and is fully deserving of our appreciation. The story of the ten lepers in Luke’s Gospel illustrates how gratitude can draw us closer to God. Jesus of Nazareth, while traveling along the border of Samaria and Galilee, sees ten men suffering from leprosy.
They begin to call out to him to heal them of the horrible disease. Jesus heals them, but only one shows gratitude. “When one of them saw that he was healed, he returned, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself to the ground at Jesus’s feet and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan.
Jesus spoke up, ‘There were ten who were healed; where are the other nine?'” (Luke 17:15–17). Jesus’s question reflects disappointment that only one leper had come back to thank God. The Samaritan leper had taken the time to express his gratitude and found himself at the feet of Jesus, who told him, “your faith has made you well” (verse 19).
Since all the men had been healed, this pronouncement suggests that not only was this Samaritan healed of leprosy, but he was also made well in a way the other nine had not experienced. Like the leper, when our hearts are filled with gratitude to God for all he’s done and continues to do for us, we are drawn into his presence.
2 GRATITUDE IS GOD’S WILL FOR US: God’s will for us is to be thankful, not just on the good days but also on the hard ones. It’s easy to practice gratitude when things are going well. But when times are hard, we may struggle to find something to be thankful for. Stress, grief, disappointment, and heartache often prevent us from seeing God’s goodness in difficult situations. But Scripture challenges us to do just that. In apostle Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, he writes, “Be thankful in all circumstances” (5:18).
But how can we grow a heart of gratitude in all circumstances? We must choose to believe that God is good even when life’s circumstances aren’t. Believe that despite our suffering, God is still with us. Jesus sees us, and he cares for us. He walks with us in the valleys. We are not alone.
Thinking of Jesus’s nearness can help generate feelings of gratitude. If you’re going through a challenging situation today, take the time to answer these questions to help you practice gratitude despite your circumstances.
3 GRATITUDE STRENGTHENS OUR FAITH: Gratitude should spring from your heart when you look back on the many things God has done in your life and recall how kind he has been to you, even through trials, challenges, and disappointments. Scripture encourages us to remember. Psalm 105:4-5 (CEV) notes, “Trust the LORD and his mighty power. Remember his miracles and all his wonders and his fair decisions.” Remember the times that God has come through for you. Remember when you were sick, and God healed you.
Remember when you were grieving, and God comforted you. Remember all the times you felt like giving up, but God was there to strengthen you. And as you remember God’s track record of faithfulness, it will affirm that you have every reason to trust God for the future. Moses understood this well; that’s why he encouraged the Israelites, saying, “Remember this day—the day you left Egypt, the place where you were slaves. This is the day the LORD brought you out by his great power” (Exodus 13:3 GNT). Moses encouraged them to remember to strengthen their faith for what challenges lay ahead.
4 GRATITUDE LEADS TO JOY: Often, we associate happiness with what’s happening in our lives. We think I’ll be happy when I have sufficient income, my health is excellent, or my work is less stressful. But true joy doesn’t come from having an ideal life. Happiness comes from knowing Jesus Christ. He is the source of our happiness.
And the exciting thing about joy is that it’s connected to gratitude! Gratitude is the door of entry to joy! Psalm 100:4 (GNT) encourages us to “Enter the Temple gates with thanksgiving; go into its courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise him.” Today, if you need joy in your life, start thanking God. He invites us to approach him with a thankful heart and give Him thanks for all he has done in our lives. And in exchange, he gives us his joy. The joy that makes us strong in every circumstance. That’s the power of gratitude! It leads to happiness.
Studies have found that gratitude is associated with better health, optimism, improved self-esteem, and greater happiness. There’s something about giving thanks that allows negative emotions to be replaced with positive ones.
5 GRATITUDE STRENGTHENS OUR FAITH: Gratitude should spring from your heart when you look back on the many things God has done in your life and recall how kind he has been to you, even through trials, challenges, and disappointments. Scripture encourages us to remember. Psalm 105:4-5 (CEV) notes, “Trust the LORD and his mighty power. Remember his miracles and all his wonders and his fair decisions.” Remember the times that God has come through for you.
Remember when you were sick, and God healed you. Remember when you were grieving, and God comforted you. Remember all the times you felt like giving up, but God was there to strengthen you. And as you remember God’s track record of faithfulness, it will affirm that you have every reason to trust God for the future. Moses understood this well; that’s why he encouraged the Israelites, saying, “Remember this day—the day you left Egypt, where you were slaves.
This is the day the LORD brought you out by his great power” (Exodus 13:3 GNT). Moses encouraged them to remember to strengthen their faith for what challenges lay ahead.
6 GRATITUDE GUARDS OUR HEARTS: The best defense against Satan’s fiery darts and lies is gratitude. Gratitude guards our hearts against the enemy attacks of doubt, discouragement, disillusionment, and dissatisfaction. Satan whispers things like, “If God loves you, why did he let that happen to you?” He wants you to believe that God isn’t good and that he is withholding good from you. In fact, that’s how he deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden. When God commanded Eve not to eat from the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad, Satan lied to Eve to get her to question God’s motive.
Satan, disguised as a snake, said, “God understands what will happen on the day you eat fruit from that tree. You will see what you have done, and you will know the difference between right and wrong, just as God does” (Genesis 3:5 CEV). Just like that, Satan tricked Eve into doubting God’s character and his goodness. But gratitude reminds us of who God is, what he has done, and what he has promised. Gratitude guards our hearts against Satan’s lies.
Thanking God means we choose to believe he is good, as noted in Psalm 84:11 (GNT): “The LORD is our protector and glorious king, blessing us with kindness and honor. He does not refuse any good thing to those who do what is right.”
An attitude of gratitude means regularly expressing thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, for both the big and small things alike. As Howes puts it, “If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.