Gratitude vs Grateful Living
Why is grateful different to gratitude – the benefits of grateful living
Have you ever considered gratitude to be transactional, being a response to something. For example, when I go to bed each night, I recall three things from my day for which I am grateful. So, I could be grateful for speaking in front of a group or solving a problem. It is very specific.
When you feel life is going along fine, which is for many in lockdown might not be the case in these trying Covid times but let’s all pretend we have all been vaccinated and out of lockdown, when times are good you have a sense of gratitude. But what if it’s not going your way? Then suddenly, we are not grateful! What is clear is that gratitude is highly conditional and based on circumstances. It is transitory and transactional.
We should think of gratefulness as an approach to life, just like mindfulness is an approach to life. Grateful living is a set of practices and pathways that help us live more gratefully. You can think of gratefulness as proactive, kind of like gratitude in advance.
So, when you wake up in the morning, you wake up gratefully. Nothing has happened yet (transactional) that you can express gratitude for, yet you are grateful for just being here, able to put those two feet on the floor and live your life. Grateful living is steeped in the idea that life is a gift. It’s unconditional gratitude if you will.
Studies have shown that living in gratefulness benefits the immune system and the heart and provides all kinds of other health benefits.
There are personal benefits as well. For example, the emotional intelligence benefit, your ability to recognise and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behaviour and relationships.
There are also spiritual benefits: the sense of wellbeing and feeling joy, knowing that happiness does not depend on what happens to us. Gratefulness is the gratitude that does not depend on getting something.
Essentially, when you live gratefully you ultimately strengthen the relationships around you. They become much stronger, deeper, more gratifying, and generous.
We become more respectful and appreciative of people. How you participate in society changes when you live in gratefulness. You come from a place not of scarcity, of greediness, of needing more, of comparisons and competition. Those things are not of real value.