Attitude of Gratitude

I know that when some people hear the phrase “Attitude of Gratitude,” they often think, “Oh yeah, more new-age psychobabble. Where are the hard facts?”  Well, I agree that hard facts are important. To prove their importance, here are some reputable sources who argue convincingly about the positive impact of the science of gratitude.

The Benefits of Gratitude

  • Multiple studies, including one from Harvard Medical School, showed that people who express gratitude are “more optimistic and feel better about their lives.”
  • The Templeton Foundation conducted studies that showed that an “attitude of gratitude” can actually have a positive and “lasting effect on the brain.”
  • A paper published by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence concluded that “expressing gratitude completes [a] feeling of connection” with others (which I say is pretty important in building relationships).
  • Even neuroscientists argue that gratitude is effective. Paul Zak, professor at Claremont Graduate University, states that “the neuroscience shows that recognition has the largest effect on trust,” especially when it is tangible, unexpected, personal, and public.
  • UC Berkley conducted fMRI scans on individuals who wrote gratitude letters and compared them to the fMRI scans of people who did not. They found that the people who wrote gratitude letters had a greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex than those who did not write the letters. The medial prefrontal cortex is, among other things, believed to be an area of the brain that triggers responses to nicotine, drugs and alcohol. In other words, showing gratitude is proven to be a healthy way of achieving a natural high.
  • Studies by the Cicero Group that were published in Forbes found that people who are on the receiving end of gratitude have a 33% increase in their innovation, a 22% increase in work results, and they stay with the organization longer than those who are in companies who do not have a practice of appreciating their people.

So much for psychobabble: Gratitude improves attitude, feelings of connection, and results. It is far more science than just a New Age trend.

The Gratitude Effect works when a person comes coming from a place of being grateful and acknowledging people along the way. This means that it is important to take time to notice all the good things that you may take for granted. Like so many other principles of success, it is simple, but not easy. That means this is a simple concept, however it is not an easy concept to apply regularly in your life. It’s not easy, because the easy thing is to notice what is wrong, what annoys you, what you don’t like, or the problems that you face.

Focus on Solutions

Over the years, I have learned that if you focus on problems, you will become a world-class expert at problems, and it is hard to show gratitude when you are obsessed with the problems around you. However, if you focus on solutions, you can become a world-class expert at solving problems. This process begins by recognizing what is right around us, right now. From that starting point we can be grateful for those elements. Additionally, we can begin to acknowledge those around us for the efforts they are making, both personally and professionally. The Gratitude Effect requires a life-long journey of developing our ability to be grateful.

Expressing gratitude completes the feeling of connection with others. Here is how you can start doing this today: We all have many people who have helped us during our lifetime; they are “in our story.” Have you acknowledged them? Have you thanked them? Have you recognized and shared the difference they have made for you?

I heard a story from a woman whose sixteen-year-old son had pretty much stopped going to school. His grades began to fail, and he started drinking alcohol. Worst of all, he was caught stealing a car and joy riding late at night. She told me that he was making some really poor life decisions and that she was beside herself with what to do.

She decided to send him to a leadership conference to see if that would help take his life in a new direction. At first, he said, “no” but around the holidays, he said that if this was that important to her, he “would do it for her.”

He attended the multi-day event and came home telling her that the event was amazing. He learned that people matter. Decisions matter. The people around you matter. She told me that one of the speaker’s at that event had a particularly large impact on the young man. Then she reached out to that speaker from the event and told him the story; she expressed her gratitude for the impact that his talk had on her son’s life. She told him, “You gave me my son back.” The speaker was so moved that he sent a video message to the young man telling him how grateful he was that he said something that the boy found helpful and that he was proud to be a small part of that. What’s more, the young man replied and told him a little about the life that he was now creating for himself.

This story reminds us that the Gratitude Effect doesn’t take much effort and it costs little or nothing. However, it makes an enormous difference in yourself and the people around you. When you acknowledge people in this way, people are drawn to you like a magnet. This accelerates the relationship-building process. As the story above shows, the Gratitude Effect can come full circle and then continue to spiral off in new, impactful directions. It is proven by science.




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3 thoughts on “Attitude of Gratitude

  1. One thing about gratitude is that one has to be humble to feel and express gratitude. Humility opens the mind to new and different things, to learning, to acceptance of the differences of others, to personal and professional growth.

  2. Oh sure. In his teachings, Mr Anthony Robins emphasizes that, it[gratitude]is is one key that successful people exhibit in their lives towards achievement.

  3. A spirit of gratitude will keep opportunities coming your way……………

    Practicing gratitude is like turning the dimmer switch up. Things you never noticed before keep lighting up your heart

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