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Gratitude and Spirituality: Strength for Life’s Journey

written by Dr. Eva Bell April 20, 2020
Gratitude and Spirituality: Strength for Life's Journey

RD&T’s contributing writer, Dr. Eva Bell, shares the benefits of practicing gratitude and explains how these practices have worked in her spiritual and religious practice. 

Paul Tournier, a Swiss doctor, said that health depends to a large extent on the mental attitude and spiritual condition of a person. Gratitude contributes to the mental, physical and spiritual attitudes of an individual. It is the quality of being thankful for some kindness shown or some gift received from another person. When someone unconditionally performs an act of kindness without expecting anything in return, gratitude from the recipient shows that the act of kindness has been acknowledged and appreciated. It is a positive response and a deeper recognition that goes beyond merely saying “Thank You.” Gratitude differs from indebtedness which involves an obligation to repay the kindness shown.

Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. — William Arthur Ward.

We know how good it feels when someone says “Thank You” to us.

Gratitude has become an important part of Positive Psychology Research. It has been shown to increase physical health and well-being. It makes a person happy, self-controlled and optimistic. It helps maintain cordial relationships. Researchers have shown that an MRI taken while one practices an “attitude of gratitude” shows increased activity in the areas of the brain that deal with morality, rewards and value judgements. There is a reduction in the stress hormone Cortisol during that period. Grateful people enhance their own personal growth and have positive ways of coping with difficulties. They are happy people with lower levels of stress. They are generous and ready to help other people. Social scientists believe that Gratitude is the new “Self Help Movement.”

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