The word “thank you” is one of the first we learn as children, when we are taught that thanking others is one of the foundations of good education, a social convention to follow without asking too many questions. In reality, knowing how to thank is a real emotional capacity, because it involves a series of important factors for our psychological development and affects our general well-being.
Psychologist Robert A. Emmons conducted a study on the link between gratitude and happiness by asking 3 groups of people to keep a journal. On a weekly basis, thinking back to the 7 days just passed, the members of the first group noted 5 things for which they were grateful, those of the second group 5 problems faced, those of the third group 5 lived situations. After 10 weeks, a test carried out revealed that the first group felt happier than the others.
The benefits of gratitude
True gratitude has nothing to do with feeling obligated to return a favor or simply thanking someone for a gift.
Gratitude is a mental attitude that helps us find positive elements in everyday life, as well as a spontaneous feeling based on empathy with others and self-awareness.
Everyone, from time to time, runs into the so-called “bad days”, those in which everything seems to go wrong: we miss the bus or train, we get stuck in traffic, we are surprised by a sudden rain when we don’t have an umbrella , we are called to an unscheduled business meeting, or we forget our mobile phone in the office or in the gym, just to name a few.
Being able to be grateful for one’s daily life despite unexpected events like these means developing very important skills, the same ones that allow us to overcome other difficulties common to each of us, including family misunderstandings, tensions in interpersonal relationships and lack of flexibility in the face of unknown situations.
Here are some benefits of gratitude.
- Increases optimism and positivity
Gratitude should not only be directed towards others, but above all towards ourselves and our life, especially when things do not go according to our expectations.
Feeling sincere gratitude for the experiences we have faced, for what we have learned over time and for all that we can still do to improve ourselves is essential for developing positive thoughts, proactive attitudes and finding opportunities even in difficult circumstances.
- Improve relationships with others
Gratitude towards another person arises in a totally spontaneous way: we can be grateful to a parent who prepares our favorite dish for us, to a friend who listens to us when we ask for advice, to our partner who gives up the game of his team of the heart to spend time with us. Whatever the reason for our gratitude, this manifests itself when we recognize the value of the other in our life, when we appreciate their unconditional gestures, feeling in us the desire to reciprocate. This triggers a virtuous circle that stimulates empathy and strengthens bonds with the people around us, in an authentic way.
- It increases self-esteem Knowing how to be grateful means recognizing one’s limitations without, for this reason, feeling inadequate to situations or suffering the comparison with others. Those who express gratitude are well aware of their talents, have confidence in themselves and, at the same time, take inspiration from other people for their personal growth, sincerely appreciating the fact that they can help them achieve this goal.
- It makes us feel good Gratitude not only helps to keep optimism high, but also promotes physical well-being by strengthening the immune system, lowering blood pressure and improving the quality and duration of sleep. A real cure-all for both the mind and the body!
Develop Gratitude with Right Communication
If empathy and self-awareness are the pillars of gratitude, to develop this feeling we must work on our ability to connect with others and understand ourselves. How? Applying in daily life the communication techniques that, in years of research on the pragmatics of human interactions, have proven to be more effective in achieving these goals.
These techniques, developed by the psychotherapist Giorgio Nardone, considered the most prominent exponent of the Palo Alto School, constitute the Strategic Dialogue, an advanced communication model that allows you to:
- adapt your communication to the most varied situations of daily life, helping us to achieve the desired results
- evoke positive emotions in those in front of us thanks to the use of the right words and suitable gestures
- transforming small daily conflicts into opportunities for mutual understanding and personal development.