Thanking is a beneficial attitude that helps us maintain our happiness and health. Aside from a courtesy guideline, each time we give thanks, our brains rejuvenate and we perceive spontaneous gifts that life offers us in many ways.
Science has shown that grateful people are usually happier since the habit of thanking releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine, responsible for pleasant and relaxing sensations.
Likewise, gratitude produces important changes in the biology of the brain, due to neural plasticity: regions are activated that allow a greater understanding of others, soften stress, improve heart rate and reduce pain (physical and emotional).
Why should we be grateful
Research in the neurobiology of happiness has shown that by feeling grateful for everyday things, we become more patient and more capable of making sensible decisions.
Likewise, people accustomed to appreciating small everyday gestures are more attentive and creative, have a better concept of their own body, and follow a healthier lifestyle, by choosing the dishwasher repair, and with less effort (that is, with a balanced diet and exercise regularly).
Meaning of gratitude
The term ‘gratitude’, which comes from the Latin ‘gratitudo’, is defined in the RAE as ‘the feeling that forces us to estimate the benefit or favor that has been done to us or has wanted to do, and to correspond to it in some way’.
However, and according to Positive Psychology, being grateful is the virtue of recognition, appreciation, and just response, rather than a moral obligation. And it is that this ability is oriented towards another person and must be analyzed in relation to happiness, spirituality, and the meaning of life.
Ways to give thanks
There are many ways to practice gratitude on a day-to-day basis. Here are some ideas:
Thank you notes: leave a post-it where it can be seen or write a letter expressing your thanks. In the digital world, emails and social networks also work.
Thank with your mind: think of the person who has done something good and feel that you thank them as if they were by your side. Your brain will perceive the effects of this gesture.
Write down the daily gifts: write down on your mobile or on a piece of paper the spontaneous gifts that life gives you. By putting words to thoughts, we become more aware of them.
See the benefits: Discuss the positive effects of showing more gratitude to others in your life.
Imagine Subtracting – Reflect on what your life would be like without some people, situations, or blessings. Feeling that something may be missing makes us value it more.
Gratitude checklist: Before going to bed or in a quiet time, do a mental review of the things you are grateful for. This reduces the need for immediate satisfaction and allows for better reasoning.
As you can see, putting gratitude into practice can transform positively the way we think about our life and make us value more what surrounds us (family, love, partner, health, work …). Because being grateful is an exercise that anchors us to the present, and makes us appreciate things as they are, here and now.