Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful or the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Unlike indebtedness, one who expresses true gratitude does not expect to be paid back for their kindness. This month at DBTOC, we are focusing and reflecting on the gratitude skill.
Beginning a gratitude practice can be daunting. Just like attempting to learn any other new skill or technique, it’s very easy to procrastinate. However, with time, patience, and repetition one can improve their ability to effectively perform the newly learned skill or task. While attempting to undergo a regular gratitude practice can be challenging, research has repeatedly found benefits. For example, gratitude practice has been found to decrease depression and stress,1 increase prosocial behavior2 (i.e., the act of helping, cooperating, or comforting others), and increase feelings of happiness.3
One way to begin practicing gratitude can include working on building mastery of mindfulness skills. For instance, taking time to just look for and notice the good things around you can be a great start to beginning your gratitude practice. Taking this one step further and beginning to write down and journal good things or moments you notice throughout your day can provide you a record to reflect on when having bad days.
With patience and practice, you can enhance your gratitude skill and reap the benefits!
Written by, David Cenkner BS
1Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2008). The role of gratitude in the development of social support, stress, and depression: Two longitudinal studies. Journal of Research in Personality, 42(4), 854–871. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2007.11.003
2Ma, L. K., Tunney, R. J., & Ferguson, E. (2017). Does gratitude enhance prosociality?: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 143, 601–635. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000103
3Dickens, L. R. (2017). Using Gratitude to Promote Positive Change: A Series of Meta-Analyses Investigating the Effectiveness of Gratitude Interventions. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 4, 193–208. https://doi.org/10.1080/01973533.2017.1323638
Photo Credit: Debby Hudson via Unsplash