What is gratitude for? The main advantages of this feeling

We all know the feeling of gratitude and have experienced it on countless occasions throughout our lives.

However, there are aspects to this that we may not have thought about yet. Even its own definition is a bit complex. We will therefore devote these paragraphs to clarifying everything related to gratitude and knowing its benefits..

    What is gratitude?

    Before we can delve into the question of what gratitude is for, it is important to delve deeper into this concept, because as we have already argued, in many cases we have not even noticed the very meaning of this concept. . You could say that gratitude is a feeling of esteem and appreciation for another person for bringing us some benefit.

    This benefit can be of a very different nature, from a favor given, an act of generosity, a donation, etc. It may even be that the element that constitutes a benefit has not yet been received, but the promise or intention to do so in the future has been established, which already arouses the feeling of gratitude.

    Answering the question of what is gratitude for was not easy until some time ago, because historically in psychology there was a tendency to study more deeply the emotions that may be opposed to it, such as l ‘anxiety. It was already in the 21st century that research on positive emotions intensified, arousing in authors the same interest as negative emotions.

    As with other personality factors, researchers distinguish between gratitude as a condition and gratitude as a trait. When we talk about the state of gratitude, we are referring to this feeling caused at a given moment in response to an action of kindness towards the person.

    As for the blow of gratitude, it would be a tendency of the personality of the subject in question to feel this feeling, or to do it with more intensity than the others.

    One question to keep in mind, before delving into the question of what gratitude is for, is that we should not confuse this concept with feeling in debt. Although both can appear at the same time, and in fact after gaining a certain advantage, as we have already mentioned, their implications are different.

    The case of gratitude that we have already described. As for the feeling of indebtedness, it implies a need to match the perceived benefit with a similar one. to the person who provided it, establishing reciprocity between actions.

    What is gratitude for? its benefits

    Now that we know in more detail what this concept means, we can face the question that awaits us: what is gratitude for? Now let’s review the different answers that can be given to this question.

    1. Well-being

    The simplest answer to gratitude is simply because it makes us feel better. These types of emotions have been shown to trigger a series of reactions in our body that they result in an increase in our happiness at the mental level, but also in an increase in well-being at the physical level.

    In this regard, the 2012 Patrick Hill study found that subjects with a greater tendency to be grateful also reported better physical health in their reports. A causal relationship cannot be made, but a correlation can be made, so that a person who is grateful may be more likely to have better mental and physical health than one who is not.

    Perhaps one of the factors involved in this relationship is rest. Thinking about positive emotions (and gratitude is one of them) before starting to sleep has been proven to help you feel deeper and more restful. Therefore, someone who tends to be grateful will be able to rely on more positive thoughts to reflect.

    This first response to gratitude is already providing us with very valuable information. And it is that grateful people also tend to show other characteristics that make them happier. They may feel more confident, have satisfying social relationships, and have strategies to cope with difficulties.

    These conditions they make these subjects less likely to suffer from psychological pathologies such as anxiety or depression. In short, all these conditions establish a correlative relation between being grateful in a habitual way and well-being at all levels, or happiness.

    2. Motivation

    As if happiness weren’t enough, there are other elements that can also be a response to why gratitude is useful. One of them is that of motivation. And this is it the emotion of gratitude can become an excellent motor to promote certain behaviors.

    A study conducted by Carey in 1976 revealed what was the effect of gratitude on the motivation of consumers, in this case a jewelry store. Three customer groups have been created. The first of them, after making the purchase, was not contacted again. Contact was made with the second, but only with a person in charge of information concerning the transaction carried out.

    As for the third, the call was used both to inform of the purchase made and to thank him for this action. After some time, the recidivism of all of these clients was investigated. In the first group, a significant rate was not appreciated, that is to say that the customers did not buy back this business. Those of the second, redeemed 30% of the time.

    But the third group is the one that answers the question of what gratitude is for. And it is that these consumers, on average, returned to the establishment to buy new products in 70% of cases. We are therefore observing spectacular growth, and all this based on a single factor: that of gratitude.

    This is not the only research in this regard. too much it has been proven that more tips are received when waiters write something as simple as the word “thank you” in the account before delivering it to customers.

      3. Selflessness

      We have seen two important reasons that answer what gratitude is for. But we can still find another, and it is neither more nor less than altruism. Selflessness can be defined as any behavior in which one person engages to help another without any reward..

      In the end, and taking the situation to the extreme, altruism means reducing one’s chances of survival in favor of those of another individual. This type of behavior is common when there is a kinship relationship, especially between parents and children. However, it can also be observed between subjects who do not share genetic or even emotional ties.

      What has been discovered through various investigations is that people who feel more grateful tend to selflessly try to help more people. In other words, people who experience gratitude on a regular basis, either by repeating the gratitude state or taking a photo of it, will be more likely to engage in altruistic behaviors.

      This correlation has important implications, because what we are observing is that, a person who has experienced gratitude and therefore obtained such important benefits as feeling better physically and mentally, improving their well-being and even experiencing feelings of gratitude. happiness, in addition, it will. try to help other people who need it.

      That is, he has somehow exported this feeling of well-being to other individuals, through actions that in turn will generate gratitude towards them and therefore promote happiness. Simply put, we could say, with regard to gratitude, that not only does he have a number of benefits that he experiences, but these can also “infect” others..

      This chain of gratitude and selfless action is certainly good news for everyone in society. where such behaviors take place, because attitudes as important and positive as generosity or social reciprocity would be encouraged.

      While there are other answers, the ones we were able to look at now let us know the answer to why gratitude is used and we know the tremendous relevance of this feeling in our lives.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Bartlett, MY, DeSteno, D. (2006). Gratitude and Prosocial Behavior: Helping When It Costs You. Psychological sciences.
      • Carey, JR, Click, SH, Leighton, BA, Milton, F. (1976). A positive customer reinforcement test. Marketing journal.
      • Hill, PL, German, M., Roberts, BW (2013). Examine the links between gratitude and self-rated physical health in adulthood. Personality and individual differences. Elsevier.
      • Otake, K., Shimai, S., Tanaka-Matsumi, J., Otsui and Barbara, K., Fredrickson, L. (2006). Happy people become happier through kindness: an accounting intervention of kindness. Journal of Happiness Studies. Springer.
      • Rowland, L., Curry, OS (2019). A range of kindness activities increase happiness. The Journal of Social Psychology. Taylor and Francis.

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