Is There a Difference Between Gratitude and Thankfulness?
Thanksgiving is drawing ever so close, and maybe it is time to re-evaluate our understanding of this celebration, which is held in such high regard by Americans and Canadians alike. At this time of the year, most of us focus on being thankful, which is great and all, but forget about the weightier and more spiritual concept of gratitude. The two terms are used interchangeably, but they are centuries apart when it comes to implication.
So, what is the difference between gratitude and thankfulness?
Thankfulness refers to expression while gratitude is a state of being
When you sit at the dinner table across from friends and loved ones this thanksgiving, you will be glad that they found the time to be with you. You are thankful for their presence in your life and you are happy that everything has been well with them since the last celebration. However, gratitude goes way deeper than that. It is a state of being, where you feel a sense of appreciation coming from deep within you. You are at peace with the world and you appreciate that state of affairs from deep within. The feeling of calm these thoughts and emotions bring to mind is all fulfilling.
Acts of thankfulness last a moment while gratitude is a way of life
During thanksgiving, we get attuned to the presence of others in our lives. We express our fondness of friends and loved ones, and embrace their gestures of love and affection. The gestures we extend are a sign of thankfulness. During this time, however, the way we feel and the things we show are a manifestation of our state of mind. Gratefulness is essentially a way of life, and it entails staying aware of our place in universe. It requires us to stay alert of the role of others in our lives, staying connected to what everyone around us does to keep us happy. This is different from the fleeting nature of the act of saying a mere 'thank you’. Through thankfulness, we get to make a sense of our lives and learn to credit our loved ones with the appreciation they deserve.
Thankfulness is a social norm applicable in general situations while gratitude is the special manifestation of spirituality, love and affection
It is easy to go out to the store and say something nice to an attendant or fellow shopper for one thing or another. This is a sign of thankfulness for something they have done for you. You are saying thank you to a stranger, but beyond that, there are no ties. Gratitude is the manifestation of love, devotion and commitment towards those who mean the world to you. It encompasses shared experiences, shared love and an understanding that the universe has conspired to keep us happy, and help us understand how connected we are to others.
As we head to that special time in November, find a gratitude journal and open your mind up to just how helpful this simple practice may be on the path toward embracing and better understanding the sheer spirituality in the concept of gratitude.
How to Keep Your Joy (even when things go wrong)
It Seems Nothing is Going Right
There comes a time when everyone experiences a terrible period of failures in their lives. Relationships crumble; they get fired and realize that they have to train for a new career. At such times, finding something to be positive about or grateful for seems impossible because the only possibility one can see is an unending chain of misfortunes. But this is exactly the kind of experience that should inspire positive change in your life and personality. Rather than think that you’re ill-fated, pull yourself together and be grateful for what you have.
Be Grateful for Family and Friends
Jim Butcher once said that when everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching are your family. Not everyone is lucky enough to have great relationship with their parents or cohesive families. Nevertheless, when in difficulties, family is usually the first to comfort you through it all. Family and friends never let you down when the going gets tough.
Be Grateful for the Little Things
It’s hard to admire the beauty of the world when everything in your life seems to be falling apart. You forget that the little, beautiful things are all around you. The flavor of delicious cuisine, the smiles of your kids and family, the sunset and even the cool breezes; these are all little things that you should be grateful for. A small complement from your boss is a little thing that can boost your spirits and make your day better. The most marvelous things are given to us frequently and you just have to learn to appreciate them to feel better.
There’s Always a Choice
The fact that you always have a choice to make is something to be grateful for. The dawn of another day is a chance to make improvements in your life. When going through a rough period, there’s one of two choices you can make; keep complaining about your life is messed up or pull yourself together and keep moving forward. Even in the toughest of situations, you always have a choice. It’s sometimes hard to understand this because it’s harder or it requires too much effort.
Appreciate the Challenges and Negative Experiences
Believe it or not, one of the most critical elements of handling difficulties is to appreciate the negative experiences. It’s hard to see the positivity in this but challenges make you a mature and more importantly, a stronger person. They build your perseverance, endurance and character. In fact, they teach people to appreciate the current state of affairs. And while you may not see it now, you will soon realize the contribution of challenges to new beginnings.
Things Could Be Worse
Everyone tends to think that their problems are the worst and due to egoism, you’re no different. Look around you. Someone else is in a worse situation than you are and so you are lucky. With little effort and desire, your problem can be fixed easily. Like most things in life, problems are relative and right now your situation may seem like nonsense if you compare it with that of someone else. Imagine what the worst scenario would be like and you’ll soon realize that your life is not as bad as you think.
Appreciate Your Health
People tend to ignore good health unless they fall sick. It’s good health that enables you to accomplish daily tasks and live a great life. It’s by God’s grace that you are able to see the colors of the world, walk, breath or even move your limbs. Health is the foundation of not only your life, but also your personality. There’s no reason to be ungrateful for it because it comes at no cost. Life isn’t as bad as you perceive it to be because you are healthy so express gratitude for this even when your life seems to be falling apart.
There is Always Something to be Grateful For
Gratitude is vital for coping with difficulties and hardships. You shouldn’t despair regardless of how terrible the times get. Every hardship in life comes with something to be grateful for. You just have to learn how to take not of these advantages and appreciate them to have a positive outlook on your life. After all, remember that some people out there would choose to be in your shoes right now coz their situation is even worse.
So be thankful and have an attitude of gratitude.
Discover 7 Amazing Health Benefits of Living in Gratitude
(You probably haven't considered these)
Thanksgiving isn't the only time you should practice gratitude. It is helpful every single day of the year! Many studies have found there are great health benefits in making gratitude a year-round habit. To enjoy the many mental and physical benefits of gratitude all it takes is a little bit of introspection.
Here are seven surprising benefits you can gain from developing an attitude of gratitude that you might not know about.
Benefit #1 – More Patience
Researchers at Northeastern University have found that people who felt grateful for the little everyday things in their lives were more patient and better able to make sensible decisions, compared to those who didn't feel thankful on a daily basis.
Benefit #2 – Improved Relationships
Feeling grateful toward your partner can improve numerous aspects of your relationship, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology. This includes stronger feelings of connectedness and overall satisfaction as a couple. When you express your gratitude to your partner, it will very likely be reciprocated. Being grateful for each other can significantly help your love life, and as a result, bring more romance into your life.
Benefit #3 – Improved Sleep
Feeling grateful can help you sleep better and for longer. This is most likely because you have more positive thoughts before you go to sleep, which can help to soothe the nervous system. Think of your day and be grateful for all the things that transpired. Feel grateful in advance for the next day! You can journal your gratitude or count your blessings like you might count sheep.
Benefit #4 – Eases Depresssion
Gratitude is very powerful. Recent studies have shown that by practicing the "three good things" exercise daily, you can see considerable improvements in depression and overall happiness, sometimes in as little as a few weeks. Simply think of three good things or moments that happened during the day.
It is literally impossible to be sad (or mad) while focusing on what you are grateful for.
Benefit #5 – Promotes calm and less anxiety
It’s so beneficial to start a Gratitude Journal and list at least 5 things you are thankful for each day. You will find if you keep up this practice, you will feel more calm, peaceful and experience less anxiety.
Benefit #6 – Experiencing better physical health
Yes, it is true. As you move away from negative thoughts and immerse yourself in being grateful, your health will automatically improve. Letting yourself be free from fearful thoughts by practicing gratitude instead will improve your physical health. Numerous studies have examined the relationship between gratitude and physical health markers such as cardiovascular health, stress and inflammation, pain perception, and sleep which promotes better physical health. One study found that keeping a gratitude journal improved diastolic blood pressure. Another study found that people who kept a gratitude journal for 14 days reported fewer headaches, clearer skin, less stomach pain, and reduced congestion.
Benefit #7 – Gives you happiness that lasts
Numerous things can give you a boost of happiness, from a compliment to a chocolate. Unfortunately, thesekinds of instant gratification can quickly disappear and leave you craving more. On the other hand, gratitude is something that can lead to a much more sustainable form of happiness because it isn't based on immediate gratification, but rather a sustained peaceful state of mind. If you take the time to regularly express gratitude and thankfulness for the things in your life, you are more than likely to see long-lasting happiness.
Gratitude doesn't take anything fancy to practice, but can change your life exponentially. Taking just a few minutes a day to show your thanks can have substantial benefits on both your mental and physical health.