When we show gratitude to someone, it is the final step in a four-step process. It all starts with a moment in time when we are in a difficult situation and need the help of another. This is followed by someone seeing our difficulty and acting kindly to come to our aid.Once we have received help we acknowledge and appreciate the help that has been given, and finally we show gratitude.
In order to do this, we have to process the situation, the difficulty, the kindness and the appreciation and this thought process leads us to expressing gratitude. It is a thoughtful acknowledgment of our happiness.
G.K. Chesterton once wrote,
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
If we trace the language back to its root meaning, in the Anglo-Saxon Danican, the old Norse Dankka, and the Frisian, High German, and Dutch Dankken, all of these words mean more than just a polite expression of appreciation, they all carry the meaning of "giving thought to that which is good."
In fact, the words thank and think come from the same etymological root!
When we thank someone we are engaging positively with them. This "gratitude" plays a huge role in our sociological behaviour, it helps us to create stronger bonds and gives us a sense of community.
Because gratitude is a choice, we need to use positive thoughts to implement that gratitude. It engages our heart and our mind.
It gives us control in a situation; anything and anyone have no power unless we react to it. If we use gratitude we react positively, this will help to defuse any potential crisis we face. It is recognition of our unearned treasure.
Once we are in a grateful state it not only creates a space to reflect, but it leaves us with no option but to be positive. When we look back on that moment in time when someone showed us kindness, we create good memories, which can help us in the future with all the mental health challenges that may be around the corner.
Practising deep gratitude or living gratefully means that as we are constantly looking for reasons to be grateful, our mind will be in a constant place of preparedness, reflecting before action and approaching the task with an inner attitude of gratitude.
When the heart and mind are aligned in such a way our whole being will be in synch and this will energise us. It will not only connect us to others, but will also make us think about how grateful we are for what we personally have and it allows us to celebrate that goodness with our heart.
This deep gratitude grounds us in the present moment. We thus open ourselves up to the joy, wonder, awe and mystery of it all -- and this causes us to think about things on a deeper level.
Thanking is thinking, Being grateful for an experience (no matter how challenging) amplifies our awareness and has a great motivating effect.