The Power of Gratitude Rituals


The Power of Gratitude Rituals

It may seem trite to suggest that gratitude be incorporated into daily life for the good it might do.

I too underestimated the power of practising gratitude until I tried it out for myself and started to read research findings on the topic.

So, let’s unpack three reasons gratitude rituals should be incorporated into our lives in 2018:

Reason 1: Want to feel great; be grateful!

The research is in folks, and yes, simple gratitude rituals, such as gratitude journaling, writing notes of thanks, sending thank you cards or other forms of expressing gratitude does make us feel good and live healthier, happier lives. An article titled The Grateful Brain by Alex Korb in Psychology Today provides an excellent summary of some relevant research in this field.

Research has demonstrated that those engaging in daily gratitude journaling tend to be more determined, have better attention, are more enthusiastic and energetic. Those who do gratitude journaling weekly rather than daily still tend to be more optimistic, have better exercise patterns and fewer physical ailments than those who don’t.

The other great news is that by focussing on the positive you have less capacity to focus on the negative, and secondly, the more you practice expressing gratitude, the more automatic the process becomes, so that the brain gets more used to looking for the good things in life rather than the bad. The effect of this is, more happiness. It’s a win, win, win.

Reason 2: Builds happiness levels, goodwill and better relationships.

The second main reason to practice gratitude daily is that it can, particularly when expressed outwardly, boost not only your mood but also have a positive impact on your relationships and bring you and your business, positive goodwill in return.

By being a happier person, more focussed on gratitude, you will naturally be a more pleasant person to be around, which will accordingly enhance your interpersonal relationships. Don’t we all prefer to be around happy people and generally be more likely to want to build relationships with happier people?

Expressing gratitude externally through letters, emails, cards or other acts of kindness toward others has been shown to boost happiness levels, even more so, than exercising gratitude privately/inwardly as in gratitude journaling, retail therapy, etc. The research findings of Dr Katherine Nelson are outlined in Jacqueline Howard’s Huffington Post article titled, Psychologists Reveal One of the Best Ways to Boost your Mood.  

The receiver of our acts of kindness on the other hand benefits by feeling appreciated and valued. In the words of William James the great American psychologist and philosopher, “The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”  We as humans have a great need to feel valued, to feel our lives matter. So, there is a feel-good factor at play, both in the giver and receiver, of various acts of kindness/gratitude being shown.

The Law of Reciprocity is also something that comes into play. This law says when someone does something nice for you, you have a strong sense of obligation to do something nice in return. Hence the expression of appreciation has a tendency also to help you build goodwill in relationships, including business relationships, that is likely to be returned in kind in some manner, maybe not immediately but at some point in time.

When the reciprocity of kindness occurs, this has the potential of triggering further feelings of happiness in the original giver, but also possibly some very valuable assistance to you in business such as a positive character reference, referral of business, or some other type of valuable service that may help grow your business.

Reason 3: Easy and economical to do!

The final reason for implementing a daily ritual of gratitude is that it can be simply, easily and economically done. Some ideas on how to show gratitude and kindness are provided below:

  • Journaling daily your reflections on three things you are grateful for.
  • Writing letters, emails or cards of appreciation, e.g. It was great to meet you, happy birthday, happy holidays.
  • Phoning someone each day for no other reason than to let them know you were thinking of them and to inquire about how they are getting on.
  • Arranging to meet with someone and buying them a cup of coffee or a meal.
  • Sending a gift or offering to give assistance in some meaningful way.

There are many ways in which we can be grateful or show gratitude or appreciation, and as you see from the list provided above, most will not cost you very much apart from a little time and forethought.

I hope I have helped shed some light on this important topic of the power of gratitude and why in my view everyone should consider starting a gratitude habit or ritual in their daily lives this year. I wish you well on your gratitude journey and may it bring you well deserved happiness and business growth!

I would love to know your thoughts on the ideas I have shared here. Shoot me a comment below.

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