When it comes to our privileges or relationships – we easily take for granted what we already have. Saying ‘thank you’ in such cases seems unnecessary. Psychology considers “gratitude” as a powerful emotion that can have a positive impact on our mental and physical health. The research shows that people who practice gratitude regularly tend to be happier and more optimistic, have better relationships, and are more resilient during difficult times.
Here are two beautiful TED talks about gratitude, the first one is by Andrea Driessen – The profound power of gratitude and “living eulogies”. This is a part of her talk that got me hooked –
Why are the truest compliments and the sincerest sentiments said about people we love when they can’t hear and savor and relish them? And how do we honor all those around us who are very much alive?
We can honor all those around us who are very much alive. I call this intentional honoring of others “Gracenotes”.
With Gracenotes, we let our family, our friends, our kids, even our colleagues know not just that they matter but how they matter.
And here is another talk by Christina Costa – How gratitude rewires your brain. She is a psychologist researching well being and she has a brain tumor. This is the study she shares along with her experience of practicing gratitude –
There are several positive psychological and social outcomes of gratitude, like increases in happiness, decreases in depression, having stronger relationships and experiencing positive emotion.
And fMRI studies show us that several parts of our brain and pathways are activated when we experience and express gratitude. One of these parts is the medial prefrontal cortex, an area associated with the management of negative emotions.
Connecting the dots
I request you to watch both these videos and ponder. Andrea Driessen suggests expressing our appreciation when our loved ones are still alive, sharing her own experience with her father. On the other hand, Christina Costa is fighting a severe case of cancer herself. She shares her experiences as she started practicing gratitude seriously. I kept thinking about this quote while watching these videos.
“Dead people receive more flowers than the living ones because regret is stronger than gratitude.”
~ (attributed to) Anne Frank
Will we have lesser regrets if we practice gratitude more often?
Positive psychologists often recommend maintaining a gratitude journal. I think I should start writing one soon…
This featured image is by Bess Hamity from QuoteFancy, and I’m using it here with gratitude.