Behavioral experts have begun to quantify the positive benefits that people who express gratitude receive from displaying open emotional reactions. Positive expressions of emotion help to make other people happy without question, but feeling grateful also brings deeper emotional balance, relieves stress and generates health benefits for people who express their grateful feelings. Keeping journals, paying attention to others and freely expressing thanks helps you maintain a positive outlook, but you should never consider the process an obligation on a daily to-do list, which could limit the benefits. Feeling and expressing grateful feelings go together—doing half of the equation while ignoring the other side could build karmic debt, unbalance personal equilibrium and generate resentments in supporters.
Few things make life worth living more than happiness generated by simple kindness and heartfelt expressions. People go to great lengths to please their role models, friends, business colleagues and families. Simple thanks, when given spontaneously and from the heart, causes other people to blush and feel adrenaline charges in their bodies, which are very real physical responses associated with stress and neural processes.
How to Express Gratitude
You can communicate your feelings in many ways, but simple, heartfelt thanks often mean more than impersonal gifts or dutiful quid pro quos. You can communicate your appreciation by doing something personal for supporters. Consider the power of the following responses:
- Take care of the children while a partner, spouse, neighbor or business associate enjoys an evening of personal time.
- Offer to do unpleasant chores for your benefactor to express gratitude and show people you really mean your words.
- Create something personal to show your thanks. Possibilities include making a mix tape, designing a floral bouquet from your own garden, baking cookies, painting a picture, sketching a likeness or caricature, or making a collage, photo album or sculpture.
- Express yourself by showing how you feel about others, and don’t just offer compliments that recipients could misinterpret as shallow or expressions of jealousy. Tell people how you feel about what they did.
- Appreciate people who do their jobs competently, even those whose contributions are unexceptional. Communities work because of the small contributions members make, and these friends and associates may have devoted greater percentages of their total resources to please or benefit you in some way.
- Remember how to express gratitude for the most important gifts: life, nature, consciousness and a supportive universe that provides new opportunities every day. How you offer thanks depends on your religious or spiritual beliefs.
The Real Power of Positive Emotion
People who express gratitude sincerely encourage other people to look after their best interests, but the real power comes from how the emotion makes you feel. Identifying the good things in life helps you live a more fulfilling existence, enjoy communal projects, understand family members’ goals and aspirations and connect more intimately with romantic partners. Emotional balance relieves physical stresses so that you can fight diseases, strengthen your immune system and reduce blood-pressure spikes. Internal conflict causes you to waste energy and generates stress. Expressing thanks increases the positive feelings you get from simple kindnesses, which makes them more valuable than gold.
Benefits of Expressing Gratitude: Expressing Gratitude to a Partner Changes One’s View of the Relationship: http://www.fincham.info/papers/2010-ps-grat.pdf
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