Sometimes, we humans have a strained relationship with gratitude.  Most people have been taught that it is important to be grateful for everything we have because there is always someone who has less or is in a tougher situation.  So, in this way, gratitude becomes a game of comparison.  What if, however, we only looked at our own life and whether or not we are living our own truth instead of comparing ourselves with everyone around us? Let’s dive into why gratitude matters.

Why Gratitude Matters

If you have ever come across someone who exudes gratitude, you know that these people can seem magnetic, optimistic and purely happy.  Their key to success is not in that they have no obstacles to overcome, but that they perceive difficulty to be just another part of their path instead of something completely impeding their passage.

“Good thing.  Bad thing. Who knows?”

There is an easy-to remember lesson about gratitude that goes like this: “Good thing.  Bad thing. Who knows?”  This simple statement reminds us that what one person sees as a negative experience, another may perceive as neutral or even positive.  It is simply in our own minds that we create the dichotomy of good and bad.  So, why not just receive what comes with an attitude of acceptance?  Is this possibly the first step in true gratitude?

Being grateful is not only good for your mental health, but it can also cause physiological changes.  Your immune system may be stronger, blood pressure lower, aches and pains less bothersome and sleep enhanced just by living your life infused with gratitude.  Furthermore, as a social emotion, gratitude can affect your relationships in a positive way by creating more compassion, generosity and forgiveness while also decreasing feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Mental Health Awareness Month

As May and Mental Health Awareness Month come to a close, we challenge you to turn your thoughts towards gratitude this summer.  Our world is enduring a health crisis of epic proportions and if we all want to support our communities and serve those who are hurting, we need to, first, ground ourselves in gratitude. Let’s work together, Greenfield, to ensure that all of the members of our community feel supported!

Cultivate Gratitude

For more on gratitude, Harvard Health talks recent research and additional ways to cultivate gratitude in this online article.