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Gratitude is a Human Emotion That CAN be Most Simply Defined as Appreciation or Acknowledge of an Altruistic Act !

According to Dr. Robert Emmons, the feeling of gratitude involves two stages (2003):

First comes the acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life. In a state of gratitude, we say yes to life. We affirm that all in all, life is good, and has elements that make worth living, and rich in texture. The acknowledgment that we have received something gratifies us, both by its presence and by the effort the giver put into choosing it.

Second, gratitude is recognizing that some of the sources of this goodness lie outside the self. One can be grateful to other people, to animals, and to the world, but not to oneself. At this stage, we recognize the goodness in our lives and who to thank for it, ie., who made sacrifices so that we could be happy?

” Gratitude is an emotion similar to appreciation, and positive psychology research has found neurological reasons why so many people can benefit from this general practice of expressing thanks for our lives, even in times of challenge and change.
To begin though, we need to define what we mean by “gratitude.”
Gratitude !!
There is a variety of things that can conjure positive feelings of appreciation or gratitude that may guide people towards meaning and better health.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#The idea that tomorrow is not guaranteed is a strong motivator for some people to be their “best self” today.
#Recently, a paper argued that Jean-Paul Sartre’s beliefs are actually aligned with the modern positive psychology movement, since Sartre wrote about n gratitude as a character strength (Quackenbush et al., 2016).
If gratitude is a foundational human emotion, then it makes sense why humans have been studying it for millennia. Our species benefits from it, in so many ways.
#For Islam, the purpose of the five daily prayers is not to ask Allah for anything, but instead, to show gratitude towards Allah (Emmons & Crumpler, 2000). These three religions offer a unique role of gratitude, and overall, one of thanks for this existence and who created it.

“Gratitude has a dual meaning: a worldly one and a transcendent one. In its worldly sense, gratitude is a feeling that occurs in interpersonal exchanges when one person acknowledges receiving a valuable benefit from another. Gratitude is a cognitive-affective state that is typically associated with the perception that one has received a personal benefit that was not intentionally sought after, deserved, or earned but rather because of the good intentions of another person” (Emmons & Stern, 2013).

We hope these definitions of gratitude provide a psychological, social, and religious context for this positive emotion. Whether you agree with all the definitions or identify with one, we are now equipped to delve into its greater role in our health and daily lives.
In summary,
gratitude is a positive emotion felt after being the beneficiary of some sort of gift. It is also a social emotion often directed towards a person (the giver of a gift) or felt towards a higher power.

Many people are not appreciative despite being the beneficiary of an altruistic act. Can you think of a time when you felt this? Most people can. It is not a pleasant experience for anyone.
Thanklessness deprives people of the emotional rewards of gratitude, and this article hopes to offer tangible ways on how to cultivate a more appreciative state of being.
Gratitude is a selfless act. Its acts are done unconditionally, to show to people that they are appreciated. “A gift that is freely given” is one way to understand what these acts are like.
For example, if someone is sad and you write them a note of appreciation, you are likely not asking for something in return for this person; instead, you are reminding them of their value, and expressing gratitude for their existence. At the moment, you are not waiting for a “return note” from this person.
Even when we do not expect a return, sometimes they happen. Gratitude can be contagious, in a good way. In the previous example, maybe when you are down, this person will write you a note too,the state of being grateful is a pleasant experience studied by philosophers ancient times. This next section provides a richer context for how this emotion functioned historically in the mindset of people and societies.

“Philosophical Perspectives on Gratitude!
For at least 2,000 years, intellectuals have been considering the important role gratitude plays in daily life.

Ancient and not-so-ancient philosophers, such as Cicero, Seneca, and Adam Smith, preached the importance of giving thanks (Fox et al., 2015; McCullough et al., 2002). Cicero and Seneca thought of gratitude as a key virtue foundational to any successful civilization.
To be clear, it is not just ancient and historical philosophers who were interested in gratitude as a virtue. In the last few years, several papers describe gratitude from a hybrid psychological-philosophical perspective, as well as from an outright philosophical perspective (Jackson, 2016; Kristjansson, 2015; Moran, 2016; Morgan et al., 2017).
If gratitude is a foundational human emotion, then it makes sense why humans have been studying it for millennia. Our species benefits from it, in so many ways.

“Religious and Spiritual Perspectives on Gratitude
Unsurprisingly, religious and spiritual movements have explored gratitude too. Theravāda Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are some of the main religions with writings on this (Berkwitz, 2003; Emmons & Crumpler, 2000).
Historically, many religions referred to gratitude strictly regarding the need to be thankful for a higher power. More so, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism stressed gratitude as an integral step on the path to a good life.

For example, in Judaism, followers of Yahweh are encouraged to start every day by being grateful for waking up again (Emmons & Crumpler, 2000). Some psychologists believe that Christianity, as another example, incorporates a “gratitude to God” that binds many Christians together (Roberts, 1991).
1. Enhanced Well-being
Expressing your thanks can improve your overall sense of well-being. Grateful people are more agreeable, more open, and less neurotic (McCullough et al., 2002; McCullough, Tsang, & Emmons, 2004; Wood, Maltby, Gillett, Linley, & Joseph, 2008; Wood, Maltby, Stewart, Linley et al., 2008).

Furthermore, gratitude is related inversely to depression, and positively to life satisfaction (Wood, Joseph, & Maltby, 2008). This is not to say that “depressed people” should simply be more grateful, as depression is a very complicated disease and struggle for millions of people. Instead, perhaps gratitude practices need to be a part of the therapy and treatment for people who struggle with depression.

To your learning and growth,
STAY CURIOUS
AOR