Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wishes one had. The benefits of practicing gratitude are many. Psychology Today and other periodicals have published articles declaring that people who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive and energetic, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. And gratitude, they claim, doesn’t need to be reserved only for momentous occasions. Maybe it surfaces quicker during those elated moments, but you can also be thankful for something as simple as a delicious piece of pie.
Others have expressed that gratitude helps us see a negative and draining situation in a way that can lessen panic and could open up our thinking to new solutions. Most often, when we feel cornered or stuck in a situation, it’s hard to see positive forces. Some people advocate that this is a good time to be grateful. Not grateful for what has us stuck, but for appreciating what doesn’t.
Read what Sadhguru tells us about how we can naturally cultivate gratitude.
Sadhguru: What is gratitude? If we look around the way life is happening to us, if you are able to clearly see all that is involved to make your life happen, you cannot help but be grateful.
Let us say a plateful of food appears in front of you. To make this bread, do you know how many people have worked? From the farmer who sowed the seeds, to all the things that happen on the land, the one who harvested, the one who sold it, the one who bought it from there, just look at the whole lot of things involved.
Just look like this at every aspect of life, from your breath, to food, to everything that you are enjoying and experiencing, instead of thinking, “Okay, I have paid for it, so what the hell, I have to get it.” If these people in the whole chain were not there, or did not do what they have to do, it does not matter how much you pay, you would not have those things.
Just open your eyes and see how you are nurtured and supported by every kind of creature on this planet and beyond. If you see this, you do not have to develop an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is not an attitude. Gratitude is something that flows out of you when you are overwhelmed by what is being given to you.
Everything in this existence is somehow collaborating to keep you alive and well right now. If you are able to look through just one chain of events, you cannot help being overwhelmed with gratitude for all those people and all those things which have nothing to do with you right now, but they have given everything to you every moment of your life.
Only if you are blatantly living, thinking that you are the king of this planet, then you miss out on everything. Only if you are too full of yourself, you can miss out on the whole process of life. Otherwise if you just look, everything will overwhelm you with gratitude. If you are grateful, you are also receptive. If you are grateful to somebody, you look up at them. If you look up at something, you are more receptive.
So I am not really interested in your gratitude, I am only interested in you being more receptive to life. The whole process of yoga is to make you receptive in deeper and deeper ways, in ways that you do not know right now. That is the only goal. So definitely being overwhelmed by gratitude is a very beautiful way to be receptive. It opens you up to a certain extent.