"When a person doesn't have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude." Elie Wiesel
In Judaism, gratitude is an essential part of the act of worship and a part of every aspect of a worshiper’s life. People believe all things come from God and our prayers are filled with the idea of gratitude.
"O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever," and "I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart" (Ps. 30:12; Ps. 9:1).
During the Shema, the worshiper states that out of gratitude, "You shall love the Eternal, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might" (Deut. 6:5).
One of the crucial blessings in the central thrice-daily prayer, the "Amidah", is called "Modim" - "We give thanks to You."
Along with these prayers, faithful worshipers recite more than one hundred blessings called berachot throughout the day. In Judaism there is also a major emphasis on gratitude for acts of human kindness and goodness.
“Gratitude is the moral memory of mankind. If every grateful action were suddenly eliminated, society would crumble.” – Georg Simmel
Gratitude and happiness are intertwined and for good reason. It is no coincidence that positive psychology practitioners and happiness experts state that in order to increase your contentment in life you need to boost your level of gratitude.
One of the leading researchers in gratitude is Dr. Robert Emmons. He has brought gratitude into the forefront by demonstrating how simple acts of gratitude can have a gigantic impact on well-being and happiness. Emmons argues that gratitude is more than feeling good.
“It goes beyond the pleasant feeling because it implores people to share their joyful experiences with others. So in this sense gratitude is not about receiving, but it entails a large component of giving as well” (2007).
Emmons and other positive psychology practitioners such as Martin Seligman believe the positive effects of gratitude can’t be overstated.
“Gratitude can make your life happier and more satisfying. When we feel gratitude, we benefit from the pleasant memory of a positive event in our life. Also, when we express our gratitude to others, we strengthen our relationship with them” (Seligman, 2012).
You can never be too grateful. When you take for granted the people and things you have in your life, instead of being grateful for them, you are missing out on an opportunity to live a healthier and happier life.
You are also ignoring the strength of social connection that gratitude creates. Not only will practicing gratitude benefit you psychologically and socially, but physically you will feel better as well.
Like anything else in life the benefits of gratitude can be cultivated through concentrated practice. There are a multitude of exercises at your disposal that will sustain your desire to manifest more gratitude into your life. And therefore, more well-being and contentment.
" Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. " - Henri Frederic Amiel
Let us all know sing a song of gratitude:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when brothers sit together in perfect harmony.
Hinei ma tov umanayim shevet ahim gam yahad.
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