The Power of Gratitude

Welcome to Gratitude Week! Whether you are based in the US or somewhere else, Thanksgiving is always a good idea. But why just a day? Let’s celebrate all week!

We are convinced of the power of gratitude, which is the effect on your life when you use your ability to be consistently thankful, showing appreciation and kindness to others.  (Power is the ability to do something or act in a particular way. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.)

How do you benefit from the power of gratitude?

  • Happiness – fight the impact of hedonic adaptation with gratitude and you’ll be happier! We get used to the good things in our life and stop noticing them. This is why when you get a promotion or a raise at work, you feel “happier” but the feeling fades over time. Expressing gratitude regularly helps prevent the languid slide into taking people, things, experiences and life for granted.
  • Health – people who are grateful are sick less often, get better sleep, are more likely to exercise and live longer. Those outcomes may seem like a tall tale for something as simpleas gratitude, but research published in the Journal of Health Psychology shows that it increased well-being, optimism and sleep quality while reducing blood pressure. There are many more research studies connecting health and gratitude which seems to indicate that grateful people are healthy people!
  • Better Relationships – gratitude plays an important role in building and maintaining social relationships. It is a quality that makes people want to spend more time with you. The Losada line is 2.9, which indicates the ratio of positivity necessary for flourishing to occur. It is calculated by dividing the number of positive expressions (encouragement and appreciation) made during a typical interaction by the number of negative expressions (disapproval, disdain, sarcasm or cynicism). Simply stated, you need more positivity (which is a by product of gratitude) than negativity to flourish. Everyone will enjoy being around you when there is more positive than negative in your interactions.

Here’s a fun exercise to measure your gratitude using The Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-6) developed by Emmons, McCullough, and Tsang.

Use a scale of 1 to 7 to indicate how much you agree with each of the six items. The statements are rated on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (neutral) to 7 (strongly agree), with two reverse-scored items.

  1. “I have so much in life to be thankful for.”
  2. “If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list.”
  3. “When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for.” (reverse-scored)
  4. “I am grateful to a wide variety of people.”
  5. “As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history.”
  6. “Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.” (reverse-scored)

Add your numbers from each statement to get your “GQ-6 score.” The higher you are between 6 and 42 indicates a more grateful outlook on life. If your total was below a 35 out of the possible 42, your gratitude level is in the bottom 25% of participants. If you scored a 42, you are in the top 13% of participants.

During the holidays many people express wishes of love (relationships), health and happiness. Instead of wishing for it, make it happen by using the power of gratitude.  Be intentional and incorporate a practice of gratitude into your everyday life. You’ll reap the daily benefits of the power of gratitude.

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