Gratitude: A Deeper Appreciation

Please take a moment to be grateful for this article you are about to read. I’ll wait…

Seriously though, it can have a profound impact on your life (the whole being grateful thing that is … the effect of the article is less certain).

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As it often happens in academia, Gratitude has a different meaning within positive psychology than what it mean in everyday life.

For starters, gratitude is not just an action. Gratitude is a positive emotion, which is really important because it serves a purpose. A common definition from modern dictionaries of gratitude is

“the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness;”

That may capture the literal meaning of being gracious, but gratitude that does not come close to capturing the full concept of gratitude. It has been defined by many people throughout history. Having different definitions for a word is not inherently wrong, but, as a science that has to have measure effects, positive psychology defines gratitude it in a way that shows that the effects of gratitude can be measured. Positive psychologist contend that gratitude is more than feeling thankful for something, it is more like a deeper appreciation for someone (or something,) which produces more long lasting positivity.

Purpose of gratitude exercises

People can use gratitude to form new social relations, or to build upon and make current ones better. Acts of gratitude can be used to apologise, or help solve other problems people may face. Alternatively, people may feel gracious because it can be an intrinsically rewarding process. Simply being grateful for being alive is a great way to motivate oneself to seize the day. The idea that tomorrow is not guaranteed is a strong motivator to some people.