Rutgers Dean: How to Reap the Fruits of Gratitude Every Day | opinion

By Jacqueline S Mattis

This time of year, many Americans have a special focus on gratitude. The word gratitude derives from the Latin root gratia, which means grateful. But there is an important difference between gratitude and gratitude. Grateful people recognize and appreciate the presence of good things. Grateful people are grateful for good things but recognize that the good they have received is undeserved or undeserved. In summary, gratitude is a form of gratitude that requires us to recognize that we are the beneficiaries of grace.

Gratitude can manifest as a response to a particular situation or as a stable part of personality. However, gratitude is manifest, learned and cultivated.

Research shows that gratitude is associated with a wide range of benefits. People who score high on measures of gratitude tend to report lower blood pressure, longer and better sleep, faster recovery from illness, reduced risk of depression and anxiety symptoms, and better ability to cope with stress and trauma.

Gratitude is also linked to positive interpersonal functioning. Grateful people are seen by others as happier, kinder, more helpful, and more trustworthy and agreeable. Grateful people tend to report stronger friendships and more satisfying marriages. People who are grateful for the generosity of others are also more prosocial — they are particularly likely to respond to generosity by turning around and being kind and generous to others.

Although gratitude has incredible benefits, not everyone is equally capable of feeling grateful. Narcissists, for example, are so focused on their own needs and desires and so incapable of truly caring about others that they tend to be blind to the kindnesses shown to them. They may also think that they are entitled to whatever good or kind things they receive.

So how do we cultivate gratitude?

  • Stop and notice. We can only be thankful when we take the time to notice the presence of good in our lives. So slow down and intentionally look for the good in the world.
  • Pay attention to big and small moments of happiness. We live in a world populated by priceless moments of beauty and generosity. However, most of these moments elude us because they aren’t strong enough to pierce through the overwhelming of our exhaustion, busyness, and stress. Cultivating gratitude requires that we pay attention to the many small, everyday, mundane goodies that surround us.
  • Estimate the cost. Generosity, no matter how small or large, requires cost or sacrifice. Also, the one who holds a door open for others to pass through pays a time cost. Being grateful requires that we recognize and appreciate the visible and hidden costs (e.g., time, resources, energy) that come with moments of generosity.
  • Find the grace in the moment. A crucial aspect of gratitude is the realization that the good that has come to us was and is undeserved. Cultivating gratitude requires rejecting the seductiveness of entitlement and remembering that we are recipients of gifts that we didn’t have to earn or work to receive.
  • Cultivate the stories you tell. Grateful people are partly grateful for how they understand the world and their experiences. Grateful people tend to interpret good deeds as intentional. They also place more value on the kindness of others and tend to focus on how kind, helpful, and self-sacrificing others are.
  • Write it or say it. Gratitude can be cultivated through the regular practice of thinking and writing. Take time each day to write a list of 3 things or experiences you are grateful for (gratitude lists). hold on Gratitude journal where you record Things, people or experiences for which you are grateful. Use the journal to record why you are grateful, your feelings, and how those people, things, and experiences have affected you. Finally, you can cultivate gratitude by taking a moment to call, text, or write a note or letter to say “thank you” to someone who has been nice to you.

Gratitude will stand out in the days to come, but individually and collectively we will benefit so much more if we put gratitude at the center of every day of the year.

Jacqueline S. Mattis is Dean of the Rutgers-Newark School of Arts and Sciences.

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