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The positive effects of gratitude

di Sabrina Mainolfi

The feeling of gratitude is one of the most obvious expressions of the ability to love. Gratitude is an essential factor in establishing the relationship with the good and in being able to appreciate the goodness of others and one's own. (Melanie Klein, 1882-1960, Austrian-British psychoanalyst, from the psychoanalytic study 'Envy and gratitude',1957).

Gratitude is a positive emotion that involves being grateful and grateful and is associated with numerous mental and physical health benefits. When you feel gratitude, you feel grateful for something or someone in your life and respond with feelings of kindness, warmth, and other forms of generosity. The word gratitude can have different meanings depending on how others use it and in what context.

"In general terms, gratitude comes from acknowledging something good, accompanied by an appreciation that someone, be it another individual or an impersonal source, such as nature or a divine entity, is responsible for it", Lúzie Fofonka Cunha, Lucia Campos Pellanda and Caroline Tozzi Reppold in a 2019 article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Being grateful helps to increase the feeling of confidence which is in turn associated with lower levels of stress and anxiety. Living and practicing gratitude could be a very powerful antidote to the malaise so prevalent in our society.

The topic is something that has interested religious scholars and philosophers since ancient times, but in the social context, research on gratitude found its context only in the 1950s, when psychologists and sociologists began to examine the impact that gratitude it has on individuals and groups. Since then, interest in the topic has grown dramatically as the potential health benefits have become increasingly evident.

Given the strong links in the literature between awareness and well-being, the researchers examined how gratitude could act as a mediator in the relationship between awareness and mood. Additionally, because gratitude is believed to strengthen bonds with others, they also tested how gratitude and perceived social support could act as mediators in a multimedia model. In particular, awareness has been shown to contribute to the expression of increased gratitude which, in turn, influences a heightened sense of perceived support (Wood, Maltby, Gillett, Linley, & Joseph, 2008).

The simple five-minute daily journal of what we are thankful for can increase our long-term happiness by more than 10% (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Seligman, Steen, Park & ​​Peterson, 2005). It turns out that noticing what we already have can make us feel more positive about our lives.

Researcher Chih-Che Lin (2017) found that even when controlling the personality, a high level of gratitude has a strong positive impact on psychological well-being, self-esteem and depression. Basically, this means that we can reap the best benefits of gratitude by embodying gratitude and truly living a life of gratitude, a state we can achieve through regular practice and commitment.

How do we exercise gratitude?

For example: spending a few moments thinking about things in life for which to be grateful; stop to observe and recognize the beauty of something we encounter every day; be thankful for health; thank a person by doing good and showing one's gratitude; pay attention to the little things in life that bring joy and peace; practice meditation or prayer focused on thanksgiving.

"Waking up this morning, I see the blue sky. I join my hands in thanks for the many wonders of life; for having twenty-four brand-new hours before me” Thich Nhat Hanh

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