The Latin word gratia carries multiple meanings like graciousness, gratefulness, and grace and traces to the word we know today as gratitude. Gratitude is more valuable and powerful than most imagine in improving perspective on overall life. According to Florida family attorney Matthew Cambó, focusing on and expressing gratitude in one’s life can enhance both physical and mental health, which he explains further below:
The Good of Gratitude
Researchers have explored the benefits of gratitude extensively by psychologists from institutions such as the University of Miami, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California, Davis.
In one study conducted by two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough, who have studied gratitude for many years, participants had to write on various topics every day for ten weeks. The group who was asked to write about things they were grateful for during those ten weeks exercised more and were more optimistic and confident about life overall than the other two groups who were tasked with writing about irritating or aggravating incidents.
A leading psychologist studying the impacts of gratitude by the name Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman found great results through testing the effects of different positive psychology exercises. The study showed how manifesting appreciation for someone who is considered an uplifting influence could be one of the more extensive effects of gratitude, with benefits on one’s well-being lasting for up to one month.
Being grateful has also been shown to improve relationships. The expression of gratitude towards another partner can increase positive feelings in the relationship and communication levels.
Matthew Cambó: Take Advantage of the Powers of Gratitude
Gratitude can elevate positive change in anyone’s life with a few simple practices. One way to develop gratitude is to write “thank-you” letters or emails to those you appreciate. Saying “thank you” in person is effective, for it also provokes happiness and builds more meaningful relationships. Even mentally saying “thank you” and thinking about how an individual has shown kindness to you will help shape a better mindset, which will positively impact other areas of the person’s life.
Incorporating meditation into daily routines inspires mindfulness, bringing all thoughts running through the mind to the present and focusing on the simple things that might help spur gratitude. This can be practiced in as little as one minute per day of dedicated, focused thought control. The more a person practices focusing their thoughts on what they have to be grateful for, the easier it will become for those thoughts to manifest organically.
Another way to practice graciousness is to start the day with a gratitude practice and end the day with a gratitude practice. Exercises like jotting down three to five things to be thankful for with the day’s beginning and three to five things to appreciate at the day’s end in a gratitude journal can clinically lower levels of depression and suicide.
Taking the time to thank oneself by channeling gratitude inward is also great for boosting mental and physical health. During days when a workout might seem impossible, people who thank their bodies for having the ability to do physical movement and exercise will find more enjoyment in the more challenging parts.