Counting your blessings is not just about adopting an attitude of gratitude; it’s about making great things happen in your life. Gratitude is a worldview that we wish more people would adopt because it’s much more positive than the alternative, which is to take things for granted.
In a study of gratitude and subjective well-being, participants kept records of their moods, coping behaviors, health behaviors, physical symptoms, and overall life happiness. Researchers found that participants who expressed gratitude showed higher well-being. Researchers also found that gratitude helped people to feel greater happiness. The scientists say ‘Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.’
Researchers studying gratitude have a difficult task because it is hard to define. They begin by saying ‘It has been conceptualized as an emotion, an attitude, a moral virtue, a habit, a personality trait, or a coping response. The word gratitude is derived from the Latin root gratia, meaning grace, graciousness, or gratefulness.’
In a quote from P.W. Pruyser, the researchers say that the words that come from the Latin root of gratitude have to do with ‘kindness, generousness, gifts, the beauty of giving and receiving, or getting something for nothing.’
The field of positive psychology is relatively new, but psychologists are fascinated by the resiliency of people who have a positive, grateful outlook as compared to those who focus on the awful things that happen.
Positive people rarely have a life that’s free of loss, rather, they are able to experience loss as a temporary moment of sorrow that enhances the joy of the other moments of their lives.
The positive Psychology Center is ‘founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.’ Psychologists hope that curing many types of mental illness could be as easy as helping people to learn to count their blessings.