Healing Power of Gratitude

Many of us grew up having had "good" manners drilled into us.  Please and thank you being the "magic words" of etiquette but more than just being polite, showing gratitude may just have some unexpected and profound healing effects.   Who doesn't like to be thanked, to be recognized in an appropriate way when we have done something for others or served them in some way?  Gratitude may have several healthy benefits in our life.

When we choose to live from a paradigm of being thankful, we are less likely to suffer from self-centeredness and a sense of entitlement. This is a breeding ground for discontentment and depression.  It is in being thankful we recognize the value of others around us and the ways in which they serve us and make our lives a little better.  By being genuinely thankful we can see how many things in our life are indeed a gift and this makes it harder to take things and people for granted.

Being thankful and expressing your gratitude to another for something they have done can also be very therapeutic for others.  Many of us have often felt a little (or  a lot) taken for granted.  For many of us there is a faithful parent, spouse, teacher or employee who dutifully and diligently serve us and it is often easy for them to feel taken for granted and not appreciated.  This sense of not feeling appreciated can lead to a place of bitterness and discontentment in a multitude of areas.  This can greatly reduce the motivating and life invigorating meaning and value needed to enjoy our jobs and relationships  A simple, heart felt thank you to a spouse, child or co-worker can go a long way to encouraging them in life and bring welcome relief to what otherwise may seem like a thankless life / task.

I try to let those around me know how thankful I am for them.  This past weekend I was under the weather and found myself unable to help around the house.  This all fell to the shoulders of my wife.  When I was feeling a little better, I made a deliberate point to speak to my wife and thank her for doing such a beautiful job and how much I appreciate all she does to make our house a home.  Yes, she was very tired but it seemed to be exactly what she needed to hear - that I sincerely appreciated her and all her care and hard work mattered.   Does a sincere thank you replace my help and my responsibilities? No, but it is an important, needed addition for healthy relationships.

Knowing where we would like to be appreciated and recognized, and by whom also gives us an indication of where we may be wounded.   I know many people who have longed to hear appreciation in the form of "I love you" or "Great Job" said by a father or mother.  Many people long to know they are truly accepted and that they in fact do matter, especially by people closest to them.  Are there any places in your life where you long to hear someone express gratitude and appreciation?

If so, it may be appropriate to ask for it.  It is often people don't express gratitude, not because they don't feel grateful or appreciate you, rather sometimes people don't think to, don't know how to or are incapable of expressing gratitude and appreciation the way we may need it.  By asking, you are communicating a genuine need which they may not even be aware you have.

In this 3 minute TED video, Dr. Laura Trice talks about praise, gratitude, and saying “thank you.”  Enjoy!

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