Imagine you have to attend a parent-teacher meeting at your child’s school. But your manager informs you that you have to meet a client for a sales pitch. Around the time when you start panicking, your colleague steps up to fill in for you. Their kindness will leave you with a feeling of appreciation.
You’re filled with gratitude when you’re thankful for someone’s help or just their presence in your life. This could be toward your employer who retained you even when the organization was suffering or a friend who sent you a care package when you were feeling lonely.
In positive psychology, gratitude is well researched as a feeling of strong happiness. It’s a positive emotion that is derived from a healthy mindset. It makes you more resilient and motivates you to achieve your goals. It’s also what connects you with people in your life. We may not always say it explicitly, but there are many times when we’re thankful for something or someone.
Let’s discuss what it means to be grateful and how it can help you improve your personal and professional relationships.
What Is Gratitude?
Every time you say a sincere ‘thank you’ to someone, it’s a form of gratitude. It’s synonymous with appreciation, acknowledgment and respect. Think about a time when someone helped you in a crisis, listened to you when you were feeling low or gave you a shoulder to cry on. You feel positive about people who help you and who are there for you. This can help you strengthen your relationships with the people you surround yourself with.
Gratitude can be expressed in multiple ways. You don’t always have to say you’re thankful. Sometimes a smile or a handshake can do the trick. For many people, praying is the highest form of gratitude and for others, it’s more tangible like receiving a present or a thoughtful letter.
Many times we are advised to “count our blessings”, which is a conscious method of appreciating the things you have. What we might have, someone else can only hope for or vice versa. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to live in this world. So, you have to acknowledge what you have and make the best of it.
Some of the things that are considered blessings are a roof over our head, food on our plate and clothes on our back; these are basic human needs. Being thankful for these necessities will make you happier and more satisfied in life.
Why Is Gratitude Important?
Gratitude is important if you want to nurture relationships with your friends and family, cultivate a habit of saying thanks where it’s due and adopt a positive mindset.
Many of us think of a distant future and the ideal situation where we’ll be happy. We think “If I can have a bigger house, I’ll be happier” or “If I can move to another country, I’ll finally be happy”. But happiness can be found even in the present. It’s the little things like going out with friends, traveling or listening to your favorite music.
A feeling of gratitude helps you appreciate the things you have rather than focusing on what you don’t. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be aspirational but it’s important to remember that the grass is always greener on the other side of the hill. If you can answer why you want something, you won’t struggle with how you’re going to achieve it.
The importance of gratitude in life is best understood with this quote by the ancient Greek philosopher, Epicurus, “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Sometimes when you want more, you forget to appreciate what you already have. It’s important to pause and acknowledge what you’ve achieved, give thanks and make a conscious effort to be happy.
How To Develop Gratitude In Life
Gratitude isn’t always an innate feeling but a choice you make. This can be developed over time. There are many ways to develop gratitude in your daily life. Here are some ways to nudge you in the right direction:
Say ‘Thank You’
This is the most overlooked and the easiest way to express your gratitude. Say thank-you to your parents, your friends and everyone who helps you even in the smallest way.
Acknowledging your coworkers is also important because it can help you build a strong rapport with your managers, peers and juniors. Send a thank-you note or an email at the end of a meeting or a conversation to appreciate their time. Make an effort to recognize what others do for you.
Acknowledge Other People’s Efforts
Sometimes when people do things for us, we tend to take it for granted. For instance, the people we overlook the most are our parents. Even when your mother hands you a glass of water, you should convey that you’re thankful for her effort.
At work, if a close colleague helps you with your tasks, expressing your appreciation will strengthen your relationship. You should go out of your way to acknowledge their effort because if you don’t convey it in some way, they’ll never know that you are grateful for their help.
Develop A Positive Mindset
Starting your morning on a positive note will change the course of your day. If you want to be happy, you have to make certain decisions that lead you on that path. You may think it’s easier said than done. But what if we start building ourselves up instead of putting ourselves down?
Many people turn to daily affirmations as a way to cultivate a positive mindset. Some of these affirmations are:
There’s nothing I can’t do
I am my own person
The possibilities are endless
I am enough
Tell yourself that you’re in a good place and you’ve got what it takes no matter the circumstances!
The moment you start building yourself up, you’ll learn to accept who you are. For your personal growth, you have to care for yourself and be grateful for the person you’ve become. Before you can start to appreciate others, you have to appreciate your own efforts. You’ve worked hard to get where you are and reminding yourself of that is just as important. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone but yourself. Only you need to know how hard you’ve worked!
Volunteer And Give Back
Give back to society to share your gratitude with others. Philanthropy is an empathetic way to help others and make their lives better. You should try to support a cause you believe in—whether it’s to protect the Amazon rainforest or a green initiative in India. Not only is this immensely satisfying but it also helps you realize that the world is much larger than you anticipated. Many business leaders like Azim Premji and Warren Buffett have dedicated a portion of their wealth to charity to give back to society.
Examples Of Gratitude
There are many examples of gratitude that you might feel in your everyday life. Here are a few:
Being thankful to the person who cooked for you
Being thankful for your good health
Appreciating the person who cleans your house
Acknowledging your junior at work for taking the initiative to ease your workload
Being grateful to yourself for your financial independence
Being thankful to your friends for a memorable birthday celebration
Being thankful for the life lessons you’ve learned from other people
Being thankful for your teachers and mentors for their support and guidance
Being thankful for having a reason to smile every day
Being thankful for the luxury of choice and having the autonomy to make critical life decisions
If you’re here, you’ve taken the first step toward appreciating your life. You’re already on your way to success. It takes a deep sense of self to realize your place in the world without simply going through the motions. We could spend hours at work or while away time at home. But if you can take a moment to appreciate everything you have, you can approach life with a positive mindset.
Harappa Education’s Discovering Purpose course is designed to teach you how to find your passion and work at it. You’ll learn how to take care of yourself and add meaning to your life. It’s important to find fulfillment in everything you do and being grateful is the most meaningful way to do this. Learn more about the importance of gratitude in everyday life to achieve your goals!
Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics related to the Lead habit such as Resilience, Humility, Patience vs Self-Control, Self-Motivation & What is the Purpose of Life in order to practice gratitude in everyday life.
Discover more from Harappa with a selection of trending blogs on the latest topics in online learning and career transformation