Gratitude: The Secret Ingredient

Gratitude: the secret ingredient

There are always better days and other worse days, we all know that. There are moments or phases in which the right rhythm is not found, we have too many doubts or we are emotionally inactive or disappointed. Faced with these situations, perhaps we go in search of great solutions to find happiness or our personal balance.

It seems to have been shown that, to achieve happiness, the secret is to bring together a set of elements in our inner and outer world. It is not an easy road. You have to work hard to achieve happiness.

One way to undertake or continue along the road on which, perhaps, we are already walking can be to resort to a very useful and very rewarding ingredient of which, at times, we forget: gratitude.

When did we stop saying thank you? How many times have we not been grateful for modesty, for what others would have said or simply for not being aware of it?

We must be aware of the power of words. It is important to know how to grant them their moment, their tone, their emphasis, their place and their sincerity. We don’t always choose well and we don’t always guess, even if we have the best intentions.

“The pleasure felt when you find a grateful man is so great that it is worth the risk of not being ungrateful”

-Seneca-

Have you ever thought of thanking in a special way? Why don’t we sometimes say thank you? Is it the same as saying thank you and being grateful?

thank you

Six letters

“Thanks”. Six very united letters that have the power to be at the two extremes of emotionality. On the one hand, automatic formality and, on the other, the most felt of meanings.

We distribute graces left and right. In practice, we give them away, daily and to strangers. We are educated regarding the formal recognition established by the social rules. “Thank you for coming”, “thank you for participating”, “thank you for the dinner”, “thank you for the invitation” … All these are more or less formal and more or less heartfelt thanks.

Usually, we thank for communicating socially. A “thank you” can open doors, bring us closer to others and favor our integration into the group. Nevertheless, there is another type of “thank you”. What we practice less. What unites parents, friends, relatives or special acquaintances who are part of our life.

It is then that we can speak of gratitude and gratitude.

What lies behind gratitude

We are not talking about automatic formalities and behaviors. We are not talking about saying “thank you” to people who seek our gratitude for their work.

We talk about looking around or looking back and identifying the people who, without the need to get an answer, helped us,  often without knowing it, but did it anyway.

That coach who showed us far beyond the ball, the obstacles or the rankings. That teacher thanks to whom we discovered the love for books, history or mathematics. That relative who gave us the best summers of our lives, in the most natural way possible, but that we remember with affection.

“Gratitude in silence is of no use to anyone”

-GB Stern-

Giving thanks means coming into contact with one’s own emotion and sharing it with those we have declared guilty, voluntary or involuntary, of our state of mind (present or past).

Being grateful helps us:

  • Free repressed emotions and find inner peace.
  • Resolve outstanding issues (“I would have liked to say thank you …”).
  • Increase self-esteem.
  • Strengthen social bonds.
  • Fighting against bad times and negative emotions.

Secret ingredient? Yes. Scientific? Also

Martin Seligman is one of the most famous modern psychologists. He was the promoter of positive psychology, which deals with the scientific studies of the emotions and positive qualities of the human being.

Together with Peterson, he created a questionnaire that was intended to collect and classify the strengths and virtues that can help us achieve a better quality of life.

Not only did they draw on current research, they also studied ancient philosophy and texts from all cultures and religions of the five continents.

From all this, they have drawn some common elements. One of the general categories, defined with the name of “Transcendence” (which contains the strengths that give meaning to life and that put us in contact with the environment that surrounds us and with universal emotions), includes gratitude.

Transcendence has been defined as “being aware of and grateful for the good things that happen to us, as well as knowing how to say thank you”.

sunrise and woman thanking

Activate gratitude

There are many restraints that prevent us from activating our gratitude. The fear of what others will say, the feeling that it is too late now, a bit of haughtiness or pride that sometimes makes us have doubts, the thought that we will not be corresponded or shyness.

The effect is so positive that if we have something in mind, we don’t hesitate to try. First of all, we can practice identifying the things for which we are truly grateful.

Some advice?

Take a few minutes every day or once a week to identify what things you are grateful for. This will also help you to value and reflect on the actions, situations or people that are a source of tranquility and positivity in your life.

And above all,  write a letter to someone from your past to whom you want to thank for something. There is no need to be grateful for something that appears heroic in the eyes of others. You can be grateful for everyday life, for the attention, the gestures, the events, the discoveries …

Think of someone and take your time, sort out the ideas you want to express and write them down. It is up to you how to deliver it. By handing it over in person or by reading it directly to him. An advice? The best experience is to read it aloud and talk about it.

Beyond those six letters there is experience and emotion. Find out the best way for you, receive and enjoy gratitude. It is one of the surest ways to find gratification and regain our place and our identity.

Sharing something like this silently helps us connect with our positive emotions and add an extra stone to the road we build, step by step, towards happiness.

“Gratitude is the only secret that cannot reveal itself on its own.”

-Emily Dickinson-

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