The power of gratitude quite simply is that it is good for you!
Many of us were raised by parents who instilled in us the social niceties of saying "please" and "thank you".
Whilst those ingrained courtesies have their place in oiling the wheels of social intercourse there is an important dynamic at work in the expression of gratitude, and it comprises two elements, namely framing and focus.
The power of gratitude and framing
Framing is about communication and how you create meaning in your
communications with others, and more
importantly in your internal communication with yourself.
Framing is about how you define context, make associations, establish reference points and emotional touch points that convey the sense and meaning in your communication.
The power of gratitude and focus
Whilst the positive framing of appreciation and thankfulness are key components of the power of gratitude, so too is your point of focus.
This matters because the dominant energetic states associated with your primary point of focus are either helping you or hindering you.
 Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness
"We affirm that there are good thing in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.
This doesn’t mean that life is perfect; it doesn’t ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life."
 Gratitude recognises the source of this goodness as being outside of ourselves.
It didn’t stem from anything we necessarily did ourselves in which we might take pride.
We can appreciate positive traits in ourselves, but I think true gratitude involves a humble dependence on others.
We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives."
Professor Emmons suggests that the social benefits are especially significant as gratitude is a social emotion and is thus relationship-strengthening as it requires us to see how we’ve been supported by other people.
As with mindfulness, gratitude can occur spontaneously but it is not the default position of how our minds function.
It requires conscious
effort over a period of time to "reprogramme" your thinking processes
and emotional responses to live a life of gratitude.
Based on my own experience I would suggest the following guidelines for developing a regular basic practice of gratitude.
Robert Emmons offers the following tips for living a basic life of gratitude:
10 Ways to Become More Grateful
In the basic practise of
gratitude we acknowledge that the source of goodness comes from outside
of ourselves and we recognise our humble dependence on others.
In the advanced practise of gratitude we recognise and acknowledge that the source of all goodness comes from a higher power.
We discussed what we mean by "higher power" in Energy Goes Where Energy Flows. Some call this Reality, The Universe, God, and other names, and I refer to it as "The Energy Of Life" (aka the "ground of all being" or as Tillich expresses it: "the power of being in everything and above everything, the infinite power of being")
This is an expression of gratitude for life itself, for existence, for anything and everything you experience - the good, the bad and the indifferent.
Advanced gratitude is an underlying attitude of giving thanks and expressing gratitude in ALL circumstances. With practice it becomes part of your identity.
Advanced gratitude includes all aspects of basic gratitude practice but goes beyond that to include gratitude for:
- your life
- the universe
- time and space
- your problems, challenges, and hardships
- your foibles and mistakes
- your consciousness
- your ego
- people who treat you unkindly or unfairly
- your thoughts and emotions
- your freedom of choice
- ideas and concepts
“How wonderful it is to exist!
Circumstances are irrelevant because this form of gratitude is a choice that needs no justification.
It is a sense of utter fascination with the very notion of existence. You become grateful for the adventure that is life, including all of its twists and turns.
This form of gratitude is synonymous with unconditional love because there is no attachment to circumstances or outcomes.
Consequently, there is no fear of loss or change."
To give thanks in everything involves a seismic shift in perspective that can appear illogical and at best counter-intuitive, and at worst frankly insane.
Why? Because "everything" includes all those situations, circumstances and things in your life that you don't want and that are not acceptable to you.
Return to: What Is Spirituality?
Or, Return to: Renewing Your Mind
- What if everything we think…
- Being better by doing things d…
- What if everything we think…