What Is Gratitude?
After of spending countless hours in the chairs of therapists, psychologists, and/or psychiatrist's offices; exiting with one brand or another of anti-depressants in combination with anti-anxiety pills I still didn't find the pot of gold at the end of my rain cloud, happiness. If happiness was what I sought after, the ever moving, pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, how come none of these qualified leprechauns would give me a piece of gold?
I set off on my own journey in the pursuit of happiness BECAUSE finding the causes of my unhappiness didn't make me happier, it made me more depressed. Now I was an enlightened-depressed person. Blaming my parents for all the pain, suffering and baggage that the psychology people call "depression"
Heck, not only did I spend money on therapy, drugs, I bought an entire college education (BA in Psychology) to crack this code! *sound of money flushing down the toilet*
Ok ok, I suppose I can start this blog the way I intended too... I am grateful for my college experience, enduring all the medication changes, the countless empathic hours of my therapists and counselors all along the way to get me to the place I am at now. I am grateful for all the tragedy my life has taught me about the joyful, wonderful exhilarating moments in life. Darkness makes the Light that much brighter.
Gratitude turns what we have, into enough.
By 14 years old, both of my parents had died. I am an orphan. For many years, I lived with this belief as a rate limiting step for the cultivation of my happiness. When developed gratitude, I was able to see all the meaningful relationships I gained as a result of losing my parents. People all around the community took care of me, made sure I was fed healthy, raised with morals and values, appropriate boundaries/discipline, and I was always supported with everything I decided to do. Looking back I was truly blessed, as I know so many children and teens who have endured unfit abusive foster homes.
Practicing gratitude means paying attention to what we are thankful for. It can motivate people to make positive changes in their lives. Not until I shifted my belief system from victim (of life's less than good circumstances) to grateful did my depression and anxiety fade away.
Gratitude certainly doesn't offer immediate relief! The act of being grateful is a pill that is difficult, to remember to swallow, it should be taken everyday (multiple times a day) to ward off symptoms. Especially for depressive and anxiously prone individuals (such as myself), days without consumption of GRATITUDE will brew a dark storm.
All this stuff that I'm saying is LITERALLY TRUE. Because we all know studies are what humans need to believe in something these days... Anyways, do a search in Google; "Gratitude Studies"
In all my classes for my degree in Psychology, I had one semester on Positive Psychology. I don't remember learning about Gratitude... The remaining classes all focused on what I will call "Negative/Sick/Clinical" Psychology. That's like having only one semester of nutrition for doctors who treat cancer patients! Oh wait... That's a different argument. Is our healthcare system focused on healing?
"Studies show that people can deliberately cultivate gratitude by literally counting their blessings and writing letters of thanks, for example. Being grateful—and especially the expression of it—is also associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy."
The benefits of practicing gratitude nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. Gratitude doesn't need to be reserved only for momentous occasions: Sure, you might express gratitude after receiving a promotion at work, but you can also be thankful for something as simple as a delicious piece of pie.
1) Write Down What You're Grateful For
For the Gratitude Journaling Experiment, the group who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis (compared to control group which recorded neutral life events) exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were generally more optimistic about the upcoming week—compared to their negatively focused counterparts.
Start Today: At the end of each day, write down a few good-great things that happened. Or share it on social media so the gratitude awareness spreads!
2) Act of Kindness
Scientists studying positive psychology found that a one-time act of thoughtful gratitude produced an immediate 10% increase in happiness and 35% reduction in depressive symptoms. The happy effects disappeared within three to six months which shows that gratitude should be repeated again and again.
Start Today: Every act of gratitude counts, and it can be as small as saying thank you or telling someone important how much they mean to you.
3) Teach Gratitude to Children
Psychologist and researcher Jeffrey Froh created and implemented a gratitude curriculum for kids aged 8 to 11. The kids who received these lessons showed an increase in grateful thinking, appreciation and positive emotions as compared to their classmates who did not partake. The lessons had long-lasting effects, with differences between the two groups at their greatest five months after the program.
Start Today: At your next meal where kids are present, go around the table and say something that each person is thankful for—we bet the answers will move you!
4) Gratitude for Romantic Relationships
While being grateful is good for you, being on the receiving end of it can do wonders for your romantic relationships! A recent study found that after receiving gratitude, participants noticed that their partner was more responsive to their needs and overall more satisfied with their relationship. Gratitude was shown to have had a long-term effect that was seen six to nine months later.
Start Today: Practice this game with your partner. Start by saying what you are grateful for. Your partner must repeat you by saying, "I am also grateful for, (repeat what you said), AND I am grateful for ....." Then you repeat what they are grateful for and add a new gratitude statement. This game goes on until for a few minutes until laughing and hugs/kisses end the talking!
5) Saying Thank You is Good for Business
When was the last time you said thank you to a colleague? According to research by psychologists Adam Grant and Francesca Gino, a thank you can go a long way. Especially if you are in a supervisory position, expressing your thanks for a job well done can make your employees feel a strong sense of self-worth and confidence. The study also revealed that being grateful has a ripple effect, leading to an increase in trust between colleagues and more initiative to help one another out
P.S. (I still get depressed and anxious, but only when I don't take my medicine 100 mg of Gratitude everyday, as many times a day as possible)
Why GRATITUDE Shirts?? We made them so that when you wear them, you remember to be grateful. The first thing you put on in the morning is gratitude! We made them so they will empower your thoughts and actions. AND you get to share that powerful emotion with everyone you encounter. Lets spread this power! Create a happier place to live! We are on a mission at ARKEO1 To empower, Strengthen our friends to live a happier life! We Love you!