The Power Of Gratitude

Gratitude And Attitude Are Not Challenges, They Are Choices


The Power Of Gratitude - Gratitude And Attitude Are Not Challenges, They Are Choices. Picture of a woman in a multi-coloured dress with her arms in the air saluting the rising sun.

What Is The Power of Gratitude?

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.



    How you mentally characterize a situation has a profound impact on how you respond to it emotionally and, over time, this has a significant effect on the results you create in your own life and in the lives of others.









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.



    Whatever you focus your mind on you attract more of it and,  overtime, it becomes your reality.









The Basis Of The Power of Gratitude

Professor Robert A. Emmons is reported to be a world leading expert on gratitude. He defines gratitude as having 2 core components:


[1] 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."


[2] 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."



    Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.

    [Eckhart Tolle]









The Benefits Of The Power of Gratitude

Based on the research evidence of a study involving 1,000 people who practised gratitude Emmons suggests that there are a number of benefits:


Physical Benefits

  • Stronger immune systems
  • Less bothered by aches and pains
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Exercise more and take better care of their health
  • Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking


Psychological Benefits

  • Higher levels of positive emotions
  • More alert, alive, and awake
  • More joy and pleasure
  • More optimism and happiness


Social Benefits

  • More helpful, generous, and compassionate
  • More forgiving
  • More outgoing
  • Feel less lonely and isolated.


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.









The Power of Gratitude - The Basic Practice

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.

  • Make a commitment - set aside 10-15 mins a day to consciously practice gratitude.
  • Be specific - give thanks for specific benefits, gifts and blessings that you have enjoyed.
  • Watch your language - express gratitude without caveats and qualification.
  • Feel it - these are not just words, feel your gratitude.
  • Develop a people focus - express gratitude for relationships.
  • Listen to uplifting music - create and listen to a playlist of songs and pieces of music that fill your heart with thanksgiving.
  • Live mindfully - remind yourself frequently throughout the day that this moment is all there is - so be present.
  • Use all your senses - taste, smell, look at, and touch mindfully and give thanks.
  • Remember your death - treat every day as though you knew it was going to be your last day on earth.
  • Offer prayers of gratitude - express thanks to your higher power (however you choose to define that).


Robert Emmons offers the following tips for living a basic life of gratitude: 10 Ways to Become More Grateful







The Power of Gratitude - The Advanced Practice

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

Steve Pavlina describes advanced gratitude as saying:

“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."


Further Reading

Give Thanks In Everything - Respond Don’t React

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.








    Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.

    [Oprah Winfrey]









Return to: What Is Spirituality?

Or, Return to: Renewing Your Mind


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