Gratitude is one of many positive emotions. It's about focusing on what's good
in our lives and being thankful for the things we have.
Gratitude is pausing
to notice and appreciate the things that we often take for granted, like having
a place to live, food, clean water, friends, family, even computer access. It's taking
a moment to reflect on how fortunate we are when something good happens — whether
it's a small thing or a big thing.
We can use lots of words to describe feelings of gratitude: We might say we feel
thankful, lucky, fortunate, humbled, or blessed.
Why Gratitude Matters
Gratitude doesn't just feel good. Making a habit of gratitude can also
be good for us. Like other positive emotions, feeling grateful on a regular
basis can have a big effect on our lives. Brain research shows that positive emotions
are good for our bodies, minds, and brains.
Positive emotions open us up to more possibilities. They boost
our ability to learn and make good decisions.
Positive emotions balance out negative emotions. People who often
feel grateful and appreciative are happier, less stressed,
and less depressed. Gratitude
is like a U-turn on complaining or thinking about what we don't have.
One positive emotion often leads to another. When we feel grateful,
we might also feel happy, calm, joyful, or loving.
Gratitude can lead to positive actions. When we feel grateful
for someone's kindness toward us, we may be more likely to do a kindness in return.
Your gratitude also can have a positive effect on someone else's actions. Thanking
people can make it more likely they'll do a kindness again.
Gratitude helps us build better relationships. When we feel and
express heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to people in our lives, it creates loving
bonds, builds trust, and helps you feel closer.
When we make it a habit to feel grateful, it makes us more aware of good things
as they happen.
Build a Gratitude Habit
Sometimes, feelings of gratitude happen spontaneously. But we also can create feelings
of gratitude by deliberately counting our blessings.
You can build a habit of counting blessings just by paying attention each day to
things you're glad to have in your life. Slow down and notice what's around you. For
example: "Wow, the sky is beautiful today! What an incredible world we live in," or,
"There's Sara! It was so nice of her to help me yesterday."
Noticing the things you're grateful for is just the first step in building a gratitude
habit, but you can try other things too, like taking the time to thank people or pausing
to appreciate a star-filled sky. Start now. What's good about this moment?