Can Gratitude be a Habit?
grat·i·tude – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
During a typical holiday season, signs of gratitude can be seen wherever you turn. Volunteers ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, Coat Drives, Toy Drives, the examples go on and on. 2020 is anything but typical and hardships are more common, both health and financial. Which leads me to the topic of gratitude being a habit.
This past week I was exposed to one of the best acts of gratitude I can remember. A hitting instructor told all of his students to pay him $25 less for their lesson this week and use that money to do something for someone in the community. The act of kindness needed to be thought out and adding an extra $25 into the collection plate is not the idea. The idea is to have the students think about helping others, act on their decision and understand what it means to truly help another person. After the act is completed, the student is tasked with constructing a written reflection to share with the instructor.
Then, yesterday, I was walking my dogs listening to a podcast in which the question was asked, ‘Can gratitude be a habit?’ (click here for the Hidden Brain podcast). We may have habits such as brushing our teeth, eating one thing at a time on our plate, or putting our right sock on first, but can gratitude, something that can be given and received, be a habit? I believe it is 100% accurate that gratitude can be a habit.
Although, I believe there is a struggle to do something for others IF you know it benefits yourself. Not immediately benefiting yourself, however, the kind of benefit you may get in self-satisfaction when giving a gift or knowing that your acts of kindness may come back to benefit you in other ways down the road. This topic has been discussed for ages and at the end of the day, if you are truly being selfless and attempting to help others, I feel that is the way to alleviate any form of selfishness one may feel.
Now, circling back to Gratitude being a habit. If we strive to serve others, gratitude is a by product and as such, we help others inherently which has so many benefits for the recipients and those demonstrating gratitude. Let’s challenge ourselves to create this habit and ultimately help others as well as ourselves.