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Grateful vs. Gratitude

Grateful vs. Gratitude

I was asked to speak about Gratitude the other day along with Carol Bakhos, chair and director of the Center for the Study of Religion program at UCLA and Alex Korb, a neuroscientist, writer and coach on the study of happiness.

The discussion that ensued was fascinating.

Korb revealed exciting yet not surprising facts about the benefits of gratitude. Korb described how gratitude boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine, which can act as an antidepressant. In fact, he connected gratitude with overall happiness. Perhaps this connection is best explained in his book, The Upward Spiral:

“Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier”

Bakhos brought her own revelations through her religious and cultural studies and the ubiquitous practices of gratitude that permeate all religions. She recounted the intentional practice of gratitude in every culture she has studied and the benefits they produce personally and interpersonally.

I have a distinct different feeling when I think of being grateful versus gratitude. For me, Grateful is a feeling I get when something good has happened (e.g., if someone swerves into my lane and doesn’t hit me when I’m driving, I’m grateful there wasn’t a collision; or if I mistakenly text or e-mail a message to the wrong person, but realize there wasn’t anything embarrassing or damaging in the message I’m also grateful.) Come on… we ALL have done this, right?

On the other hand, Gratitude is something that is a part of my faith. Gratitude is present regardless of and irrelevant to any promise of an outcome. My gratitude isn’t dependent on a desired result, it is simply a part of my daily consciousness. When I wake up in the morning I have tremendous gratitude I get another day, even before anything has happened.

For me, being grateful is followed by a “thank you” while gratitude is a constant state of being. Gratitude and gratefulness are reflections of each other that create ripples of happiness when embraced.

How do you describe Gratitude?

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StephAndy TanberAmy EricksonKelliMiss Val Recent comment authors
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Amy Erickson
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Amy Erickson

Gratitude is to joy what grateful is to being happy. There’s an old SAT analogy for you! 😉 I completely agree with you that gratitude, like
joy, is a state of being, a choosing to “be” regardless of circumstances; whereas happiness and being grateful can come and go based on situations and feelings. I choose gratitude and I choose joy! I’m GRATEFUL you do too! 🙂

Kelli
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Kelli

I agree so much with what you said about grateful vs gratitude. I’ll admit that I struggle with gratitude at times and I’m struggling with it right now even though I have so much to be grateful for.

Madison Kocian
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Madison Kocian

To me, gratitude is a state of mind in which we can see the positive in every situation. Finding the positive in everything allows us to be grateful for what we have. Being grateful for the wonderful lives we live out everyday influences our gratitude. My gratitude is endless as I’m more than grateful for the opportunities I’ve been blessed with. I LOVE my life & you should too!

Betsy Brown
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Betsy Brown

For me gratitude is the deep feeling of wholeness and humility that comes from recognizing everything is given by the earth – everything. What kind of love and generosity does that. When I really see I’m of that love and generosity, that’s gratitude for me and it’s the lens through which the rest of my life is lived. I’m grateful when I get a parking space! Thank you Miss Val for your wonderful thought starters. Betsy

Lena Pierson
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Hi Valeria! This instantly reminded me of Coach K. The man most certainly lives his life in gratitude. For me gratitide is a state of mind/being achieved through mental muscle flexing. I also believe that happiness is a byproduct of living in gratitude. Much like meditation, it is not easy to remain in this state 100% of the time. Logically I know there is always a lot to be greatful for but without putting in the effort it’s easy to fall out of my gratitude bubble. I am not perfect at living in gratitude but I am good at bringing… Read more »

A Renee
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A Renee

I feel, in the debate between grateful and gratitude, that grateful is an emotion. It’s internal, something I have in my heart and mind. Gratitude is, for me, an external expression. Perhaps that is too simple. Perhaps more of a definition than a personal meaning. I feel grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given in my life and career. It’s a little seed emotion, planted either at birth or soon after, that I’ve never entirely been without. We could consider it a manifestation of the soul or something taught by my parents and loved ones at an early age. The… Read more »

Stephanie Gumpel
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Stephanie Gumpel

When I am ‘in’ gratitude, I experience it like an atmosphere around me. I can summon it by reminding myself 3 or 4 things I’m grateful for. If I think about it, there are always at least a dozen things to be very grateful for. Once I get started, it can be slow at first, but then they start coming one after the other with ease. Usually then, I can smile or laugh at if something was bothering me. Then, I usually take a few breaths very slowly and, that atmosphere of gratitude, of the feeling that everything is okay… Read more »

Susan Berlin
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Susan Berlin

Grateful or gratitude for me is a feeling of being thankful. Has nothing to do with outcome or religion for me. It’s a state of feeling . In my world there is always something in everyone life to be grateful for.

Mary Wright
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Mary Wright

I concur 100% with your summation.

Theolla Karlous
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Theolla Karlous

Gratitude … groundwork of paying it forward … definitely part of being a Christian 🙏🏻 … doing His Work and shining His Light for others to see