I cannot overemphasize the importance of gratitude in creating benefits in a life well-led.
It seems paradoxical and yet it is a foundational idea in so many traditions. Gratitude not only is the rational, behavioral practice of offering thanks for a benefit that may be undeserved. It is so much more.
Gratitude is an emotional process that cancels destructive negative emotionality. One cannot hold a bad feeling such as anger or cynicism in the same moment as a grateful feeling.
One researcher says that gratitude “broadens and builds” networks of social reciprocity. Every time you demonstrate thanks, you are more likely to reinforce the behavior of another who gave you a benefit.
My own research and that of others shows evidence that the regular practice of gratitude (just listing five things per day that you are grateful for) will help you stay healthier in terms of blood pressure, diet, and kicking bad habits such as smoking.
That is why it is not mysterious that gratitude is one of the foundational ideas of Reiki in the Reiki Ideals:
“Just for today, do not anger
Do not worry and be filled with gratitude
Devote yourself to your work and be kind to people”
One cannot be in the healing space without gratitude, because it cancels the negative emotionality that keeps a person sick. A sick person, emotionally, cannot be a healer.
Furthermore, the Law of Attraction folks say gratitude has the power to attract more good things to your life. This is evident behaviorally and socially (positive people get better benefits) and is a foundational idea in many religions (Christian Science holds that Jesus’s gratitude for the reality of eternal life is what resurrected Lazarus).
So, today, the week after the formal Jewish, Christian and Old Religion celebrations of the renewal and redemption, maybe we should be practicing gratitude and urging others to do the same.