The Power of Gratitude
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” —Gilbert K. Chesterton
Some years ago, I was speaking with a highly successful entrepreneur and remarked how impressive his organization was. He had an amazingly efficient team around him, he drew a crowd where ever he was speaking, and was able to raise considerable sums of money for any project or charitable cause he championed.
I was impressed with his humility and the individual attention he gave to any person who spoke with him, myself included. He told me one thing that remains with me to this day, he said “To be successful you must learn how to say thank you.”
“Thank You” Was a Game Changer For Me
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines thank you as “a polite expression used when acknowledging a gift, service, or compliment, or accepting or refusing an offer.”
The word thank shares a similar origin to think, originally; “thought,” “good thoughts,” and “gratitude.” Wanting to be more mindful of others and the value they add to my life I began to intentionally express my appreciation for any good done to or for me. I’ve learned four things in the process;
Saying thank you will enrich your life
Saying thank you keeps you fully present
Saying thank you leads to a healthy contentment
Saying thank you helps you to keep things in perspective
Zig Ziglar says, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
An article from Harvard Health Publishing explores the benefits of gratitude saying that, “The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings.
Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”
The article goes on to suggest six ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis.
#1 - “Write a Thank-You Note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person's impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to yourself.
#2 - Thank Someone Mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.
#3 - Keep a Gratitude Journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you've received each day.
#4 - Count Your Blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.
#5 - Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.
#6 - Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as "peace"), it is also possible to focus on what you're grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).” (1)
Saying Thank You Enhances Your Appreciation for Others.
No one becomes successful without the help of others. A successful marriage requires teamwork. It takes more than one party to build healthy friendships. Not even a sole proprietorship is successful without customers or clients. A life filled with gratitude and appreciation toward others is a life well lived.
(1) From “Giving thanks can make you happier” (Harvard Health Publishing) https://goo.gl/qx5fvH