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True gratitude is a communal emotion, not a wellness practice | Psyche Ideas

https://psyche.co/ideas/true-gratitude-is-a-communal-emotion-not-a-wellness-practice

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True gratitude is a communal emotion, not a wellness practice | Psyche Ideas
Positive psychology touts the personal benefits of gratitude. It’s actually a challenging emotion that binds communities

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Gratitude: Personal And Interpersonal

Gratitude: Personal And Interpersonal
  • The year gone by has made practising gratitude popular, promoting it as an instrument to enhance one’s personal wellbeing.
  • Gratitude is a complex and interpersonal emotion that feels incomplete by itself and has to have an addressee, a specific person other than oneself.
  • Being thankful for your own health, luck, good looks is a positive and beneficial action but is a feeling that can be described as appreciation and is generally personal.

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Definition Of Gratitude

The 18th-century American preacher Jonathan Edwards defined gratitude as a natural affection felt toward another person who has benefited us.

Gratitude is generally interpersonal and can induce positive feelings even toward our foes.

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Benefits Of Gratitude

Positive psychologists have credited gratitude (both personal and interpersonal) with:

  1. Improving our emotional wellbeing.
  2. Promoting prosocial behaviour.
  3. Helping us regulate our emotions.
  4. Relieving symptoms of asthma.

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Gratitude Over The Ages

  • In 56 CE, the Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote a comprehensive book on gratitude, called On Benefits.
  • The gifted philosopher treats the feeling of gratitude as a virtue that one needs to cultivate and implement socially.
  • In his book, gratitude is defined as a glue that holds society together and makes it thrive.
  • More than just acting out and reciprocating the benefits received, it is crucial to actually feel the gratitude from within.

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The Binding Aspect Of Gifts

  • A gift has certain psychological aspects attached to it, making it more than just a simple transaction.
  • A gift binds the recipient to the giver, and is seen as a burden. The word ‘grateful’ can also be translated in the Hebrew language to ‘A prisoner of thankfulness’.
  • A gift can also have a flavour of humiliation, like when a captive person or a hostage is provided with a cup of tea.

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Gratitude makes everybody happier

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Learn to practice gratitude

Showing gratitude whenever life is easy is a piece of cake. On the other hand, being thankful during your hardest times is a matter of practice

It is never easy to feel and show gratitude when things do not go well. However, acknowledging the small joys of life or being kind to others when your world is crashing down can prove extremely efficient when it comes to leading a happier life.

Philosophical roots of gratitude

Aristotle argued that we become what we habitually do. If we spend our days thinking of everything that has gone poorly and how dark our future appears, we can think ourselves into...

Religious roots of gratitude

  • In Judaism, the first words of the morning prayer could be translated, "I thank you."
  • From a Christian perspective, thanksgiving is vital. Jesus gives thanks before he shares his last meal with his disciples.
  • The 55th chapter of the Quran lists all the things humans have to be grateful for - the sun, moon, clouds, rain, air, grass, animals, plants, river, and oceans.
  • Hindu festivals celebrate blessings and offer thanks for them.
  • In Buddhism, gratitude develops patience and serves as an antidote to greed.

Gratitude as a way of life

One way to cultivate a disposition of gratitude is to give thanks regularly - at the beginning of the day, at meals, and at the end of the day.

Holidays, weeks, seasons, and years can be punctuated with thanks - grateful prayer, writing thank-you notes, and keeping a gratitude journal.

Gratitude promotes wellbeing

Gratitude, the feeling of being thankful, is known to increase wellbeing, with studies showing that it:

  • Protects from stress and depression
  • Makes relationships more fulfilling

Gratitude branding

Gratitude has been repackaged and sold by personalities like Oprah, Arianna Huffington and Richard Branson who are touting the benefits of feeling grateful as a universal remedy for everything.

Society and gratitude

Gratitude is a natural feeling humans are equipped with, and the problem arises when there is more of ingratitude in society.

To have the capacity to feel gratitude, you must be able to receive and accept something helpful or good from another person. It helps if this is something you see happening around you from infancy, so you can learn how it works.

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