Like letting go of grudges, I believe gratitude is a powerful tool to help us manage and resolve conflict. My email interview on this topic with Parveen Panwar went live on Authority Magazine. Here are some excerpts from that interview.
How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?
Gratitude means giving thanks for what you have and what you are given. It means seeing your blessings and knowing how big they are. Gratitude helps us turn away from resentment and feeling like a victim. It is about acknowledging all those who are dealing with bigger problems with fewer resources instead of focusing on people who seem to have more or sail through life without problems. Gratitude is about recognizing that everyone has problems, instead of comparing the outside of someone else’s life to how yours feels inside.
Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive?
I believe gratitude is a completely learnable skill. But, most of us aren’t taught to be grateful. Our whole society tends to be about getting more — more money, more love, more recognition. We are addicted to “more”. We think happiness depends on getting and keeping more. We are poisoned by comparisons. And, we learn about blame, shame, and not being enough far more than we know about appreciation, being in the moment, being content. We often think happiness is loud and glittery instead of quiet, self-contained, peaceful. I know that I am far more grateful than I used to be, and that is because I have worked long and hard and consciously on making that shift.
This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?
Increased gratitude helps us better love ourselves and the wonderful imperfect people in our lives. Gratitude leads to more cheerfulness, which makes others want to be around us at home and at work. It frees up more mental and emotional resources to solve problems, take action, be creative. I think gratitude can also help us be more willing to listen, because we’re less likely to rehearse grievances, and gratitude can help us communicate calmly in conflicts because we have more trust that we can work it out.
What are Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude?
- Set an intention — Be willing and persistent. I began by recognizing the healing power of gratitude and being willing and determined to retune my thinking in that direction.
- Make a gratitude list and say it out loud — start looking for things to be grateful for, thank people. I learned a long time ago that what we focus on gets bigger. The more I and my clients look for the good, the bigger it grows.
- Be like Pollyanna. Focusing on the positive, on our blessings, the disasters we’ve avoided, points us in the right direction.
- When you think of difficulties in the past, be grateful for resolution.
- Act as If — One final effective way to start leveraging gratitude is to act as if you’re grateful, even if that’s not how you’re really feeling.
The complete interview How We Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness is available now on Authority Magazine.