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I expect this to change – because of my compassion and gratitude practices I am starting to have spontaneous urges to help others.
This is because the very nature of gratitude is to focus on others (on acts of benevolence).
In this regard, gratitude practice can be better than self-esteem therapy.
Self-esteem therapy focuses the individual back on themselves: I’m smart, I look good, I can succeed, etc….
For example, spiritual individuals are more likely to feel a strong spiritual or emotional connection with others, and to believe in inter-connectedness.
Both are prerequisites for feeling gratitude – someone who feels weak connections with others, and who believes in the illusion of self-sufficiency is unlikely to feel gratitude. I’m a lot better now that I’ve brought gratitude into my life, but I still spend way too much time thinking about myself, and too little thinking about others.
Hedonic adaptation gives unparalleled resiliency and keeps us motivated to achieve ever greater things.
Those who have been disabled have a remarkable ability to rebound – initially they may feel terrible, but after months or years they are on average just as happy as everyone else.
What if I told you that just one thing can help you in all of those areas? After repeated exposure to the same emotion-producing stimulus, we tend to experience less of the emotion.
In five words – gratitude triggers positive feedback loops.
Those who are more materialistic are more likely to relentlessly pursue wealth. Gratitude has caused me to focus less on things that don’t matter, like making money, and more on the things that do, like my family and this blog. Spiritual transcendence is I believe the opposite to also be true, that gratitude spontaneously gives rise to spiritual attribution, helping one feel closer to God or other religious entities.