“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough,”
– Meister Eckhart
This blog post was an article I wrote for FIND BLISS Magazine for the May issue 2012. I wanted to share it with you all as it explains the correlation between happiness and gratitude, the highlighted emotion of this Thanksgiving holiday; One to come back to and remember at all times of the year but especially ripe during the holiday season. And to start it off, we here at Intentional Chocolate want to thank you all for being our inspired customers and joining in our intention for a joyous and extra sweet world. We are giving our thanks by offering a 2 for 3 deal, buy 2 bags of chocolate and get the 3rd free. All you have to do is purchase two bags today and we will send the 3rd bag in your gift box. Happy Holidays!
Just as kale and blueberries are classified as super foods, gratitude could be considered a super emotion — it increases happiness, strengthens relationships, promotes wellness, and reinforces pro-social behavior. Cultivating this super emotion increases our intake of emotional nutrients.
The Link Between Gratitude and Happiness
Taking M. Eckhart’s advice to heart and action, a first step in sharing gratitude is as simple as saying, “Thank you.” My practice of giving thanks starts with my family. They have always believed in me and given me the freedom to be all that I want to be.
Even writing and sharing this sentiment has made me smile, and lifted my mood. According to a 2005 article in American Psychologist, “A one-time act of thoughtful gratitude produces an immediate 10% increase in happiness and 35% reduction in depressive symptoms.” Not only am I happy in the present moment, but gratitude is proven to have a lasting positive effect based on this research.
Gratitude is a Relationship Strengthener
The act of sharing creates closer relationships. In our daily lives, we maintain relationships with our work, with family and friends, coworkers, pets, significant others, and above all else, with a spiritual or higher being. One study (by Kubacka in the June, 2011 Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin), found that “gratitude motivates partners to engage in relationship maintenance.” Next time you see a good friend, make an effort to give thanks for your friendship. This act, so easy to forget, will strengthen the bond between you.
Wellness Increases When Gratitude is Shared
Research at the Human Energy Systems Alliance (HESA) is focused on innovative products, pathways, and techniques that transform human health, energy, nutrition, and longevity. HESA findings confirm that gratitude is a necessary component for optimum health. In studies with patients recovering from heart-related illnesses, they documented that those who expressed gratitude for their care on a regular basis experienced significantly shorter recovery times.
Gratitude Encourages Pro-Social Behavior
By demonstrating gratitude on a daily basis – whether in a meeting, towards a work colleague, in an email to a client, or to a stranger in the supermarket line –you are consciously promoting pro-social behavior: voluntary acts intended to benefit another. In doing so, you are bringing yourself more joy and sending more happiness into the world.
The proof is in the practice: Writing “thank you” notes to my family was uplifting just as it is a gift to share my experience through this column. Gratitude knits the ultimate connection to the source. When we give love and share our love with all, we feel elevated.
Start imparting gratitude now. Upon waking, give thanks and while doing so, pay attention to how this gracious act makes you feel. And if you are so inclined send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or post something here on what you are thankful for.