Gratitude and How It Can Help Change Our Lives

By Jean Shafiroff

by ELYSIAN Magazine

As we enter a new year, it is time to take the opportunity to reflect on our lives and on the concept of gratitude.

Gratitude, as defined in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, is the state of being thankful or appreciative. No matter what has happened to us or occurred in the past, gratitude should be part of our lives. The first thing that comes to mind is showing gratitude for family and friends. Then gratitude for good health and perhaps a good job. Showing gratitude for the things that might be a “given” in your life might not seem worth much to you at first, but feelings and acts of gratitude bring us toward appreciation and love of life.

Gratitude also creates positivity in our lives. Most grateful people are positive-thinking people. If you reflect on the good in your life, then gratitude comes easy. Gratefulness and gratitude lead to positive thinking. Positive people usually live happier lives because they are not weighed down by negative thoughts.

According to Psychology Today, “Gratitude is an emotion, one that makes a person feel happier. Gratefulness is also a mood as well as a personality trait… Psychologists find that, over time, feeling grateful boosts happiness and fosters both physical and psychological health, even among those already struggling with mental health problems.”

When I think of people who are happy, they usually show gratitude and thankfulness. If the outcome of being grateful is happiness, then from a very selfish point of view, all of us should want to show gratitude.

How do we go about showing gratitude? We can all show gratitude through acts of kindness. Second, by engaging in acts that show our gratitude for what we have. For example, a person who has a wonderful family life might show gratitude by reaching out to others who do not have many family members. Acts of philanthropy are also ways to show gratitude. Philanthropic acts don’t always have to be about giving monetarily to a cause. We can engage in acts of philanthropy by giving our time and knowledge. We can volunteer to help the elderly, homeless or underserved. We can also volunteer at an animal shelter or adopt a homeless pet.

There are countless ways to show appreciation and gratitude through philanthropic acts. You might start by creating a list. If showing gratitude through our actions leads to a happier life, we should all want to make gratitude part of our lives.

But most importantly, we should want to show gratitude as a thank-you for all that we have in our lives.

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