The Upward Spiral Of Gratitude

One of my devoted readers sent this question to me:

“A recent study shows that people are reporting more happiness with their jobs during the pandemic. However, are people actually happier with their same jobs or do they feel grateful to have a job during this hard time thus, making them happier in general?”

SO, WHICH IS IT??

Are grateful people happy, or are happy people grateful?

The truth is, they both go hand-in-hand.

Many studies have been performed on whether the practice of gratitude is a cause of happiness and well-being or whether it is just correlated with happy, positive people.

Happiness and gratitude operate in a “cycle of virtue” whereby gratitude enhances happiness, and happiness enhances gratitude as well, in an “upward spiral”.

The more grateful one is, the more positive and happy one is with their job and overall life, which makes them more grateful, positive and happy.

Some People Are Happier With Their Jobs.

There are people who are grateful to have a job during this hard time thus, making them happier in general.

Many office workers approached ‘working from home’ with apprehension, but several recent Robert Half surveys have found that a high level of workers realized an improved work-life balance, comfort with technology, and in spite of working remotely, some have grown closer to their colleagues and boss.  According to the new surveys:

  • 60% of office professionals who transitioned to a remote setup say they have better work-life balance without a commute.
  • 74% of workers would like to telecommute more often when shelter restrictions lift.

Practicing Gratitude Does Make People Happy.

Gratitude is a positive emotion, and all the happy people I know express gratitude for the blessings in their life no matter how small these blessings may seem.

The truth is, a grateful attitude brings with it a whole host of positive mental and physical effects, including resiliency, flexibility, hope, love, satisfaction, and inspiration. Any of these emotions will also help you weather the stormy, unpredictable times.

New evidence suggests that positive emotions—particularly gratitude—may be a driving factor in the successful life outcomes of happy people. Gratitude may also play a role in motivating individuals to engage in positive behaviors leading to self-improvement.

The Upward Spiral Of Gratitude.

One study investigating the effects of a “grateful outlook” on psychological and physical well-being confirmed gratitude and well-being to form an upward spiral. 

The study found participants in the Gratitude group:

  • generally evidenced higher levels of well-being than those in the comparison conditions,
  • reported considerably more satisfaction with their lives as a whole,
  • felt more optimism about the upcoming week, and
  • felt more connected with others.

Additional studies support the causal affects of gratitude. Below are some of the findings of these studies.

Along with the actions stimulated by it, gratitude builds and strengthens social bonds and friendships. This encourages people to focus on the benefits they have received from others and leads them to feel loved and cared for by others (Reynolds, 1983). Therefore, in times of need, these social bonds are wellsprings to be tapped for the provision of social support.

Gratitude is likely to build and strengthen a sense of spirituality, given the strong historical association between gratitude and religion (Emmons & Crumpler, 2000; McCullough et al., 2002).

Like other positive emotions, Gratitude broadens the scope of understanding and enables flexible and creative thinking, It also facilitates coping with stress and adversity (Aspinwall, 1998; Folkman & Moskowitz, 2000).

According to the broaden-and-build model of positive emotions, gratitude not only makes people feel good in the present, but it also increases the likelihood that people will function optimally and feel good in the future. (Fredrickson, 2004 )

HOW TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE

Gratitude Journal

A good way to reinforce grateful thoughts is by keeping a Gratitude journal. When we practice gratitude, daily or at least several times a week by writing down the things we appreciate, we focus on what we have instead of what we lack.

If we think about being grateful, we will become more grateful. Psychologists have found writing about your feelings can help the brain overcome emotional upsets and leave you feeling happier.

Brain scans on volunteers showed that putting feelings down on paper reduces activity in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is responsible for controlling the intensity of our emotions.

Follow this link for more information on how to keep a gratitude journal.

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!

It’s easier to be grateful when things are going our way,  but  when things get turned inside-out we have to look a little harder for the silver lining. We may get so focused on our hardships, we forget our blessings.  Remember, even in the most difficult times, there is always a purpose. Look for your Telegrams from Heaven.


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