t’s that time of the year when many of us are turning our thoughts to one word: Gratitude! At least, that’s what I’ve been thinking about these days as we near the end of 2022. Can you believe?
This year has been filled with ups and downs, but within all of it, there have been things I am thankful for and that I would not exchange for anything. Since my purpose with Way2Protect is to connect cyber safety with daily living, I would like to connect GRATITUDE to cyber wellness by talking about what I’m grateful for when it comes to technology. Before we start with relating to technology, let’s explore more about Gratitude.
Does Gratitude really work?
Gratitude is defined as having two parts: a cognitive component and an affective component. The cognitive part refers to being aware of something you appreciate; it involves noticing that there are things worth appreciating in life. The affective part entails feeling grateful toward those things. People tend to focus on the positive aspects of their lives, while overlooking negative ones. This bias leads them to feel less grateful than they could.
Emotions like joy, love, and anger are associated with feelings of appreciation, whereas sadness and fear are often linked to lack of appreciation. When people experience emotions such as happiness, love, and awe, they become more likely to notice the good things in their lives and to express gratitude.
Gratitude offers us a unique perspective on life. When you feel grateful, it affects how you see yourself, your circumstances, and your future. It changes everything.
Gratitude is one of those things people often say they want to improve about themselves.
Gratitude—the act of being thankful
In recent years, psychologists have begun to investigate whether gratitude—the act of being thankful for what you already have—can improve mental health. Studies suggest that it does. For example, researchers at Harvard University recently found that participants who wrote down three things each day they were grateful for experienced fewer negative emotions than those who did not write about their feelings. They also reported feeling better about themselves.
The problem is that most research on gratitude has focused on well-functioning individuals. So, is there something special about gratitude that makes it particularly effective for people struggling with mental health issues such as stress and anxiety? Does it actually work?
Another study published in Psychological Science found that feeling grateful can make you happier—and even healthier. Researchers had participants write down three things they were thankful for each day for five days. They found that over the course of the week, people reported being less stressed, experiencing fewer sleepless nights, having stronger immune systems, and doing better academically and professionally, among other benefits.
The researchers also tested whether gratitude could help people recover from illness faster. Participants wrote about something they were grateful for every day for four weeks. Then, during the fifth week, they got sick. Those who felt grateful recovered from their illnesses faster than those who did not. Interesting, right?
What does it mean for me to live in Gratitude?
Living in gratitude is something that I didn’t fully understand until I committed to a daily practice. Of course, I believe strongly in the power of saying “thank you.” I am grateful for my family, my job, my friends, my health, for the simple fact of breathing, for having a house, a toilet, water, and many more things, so it was easy to say thank you when things were going great and I felt joyful. Practicing gratitude when things were not going great was the real change and my life and the way I perceive everything just changed.
I had a car accident recently, and expressing gratitude and appreciation even when I was feeling pain, whether emotional or physical, changed everything for me and allowed me to heal faster. I’m more productive and happier than ever in my life. Even when the down days happen sometimes, gratitude is there for me to give me hope that everything is going to be better. I love the feeling of gratitude and I’m a strong believer it’s a super power once it’s released, it can transform everything. It has done that for me. I hope it does the same for you! Would you give it a try?
How can Gratitude and Technology relate?
Unpredictability is very common when working with technology. Have you ever needed to print an important paper that was due, and your printer just stopped working? Has your computer ever shut down right before you saved an important document, and just like that your file is gone? This has happened to me over and over in the course of my business and personal life.
Even with all the chaos, I have learned to still feel gratitude for how we use technology. I am grateful for being able to communicate with my family. And I am grateful for sharing meaningful moments in social media. I am grateful for enjoying the privilege of using a phone, a computer and creating an online community. These are things I never would have imagined growing up in poverty.
Lately I have been working on being intentional with using technology, so that I can use it effectively. During the day I establish specific moments for when I am going to interact and use my phone, especially to check social media or my text messages. It can be addictive to use technology, which can affect mental health. I make a conscious decision that each time I am going to interact online, whether it’s to send someone a message of support, send a thank you note, answer a prayer request or simply be kind to someone.
Feeling grateful in my cyber world allows me to be more present. Each time I grab my phone I use it as an opportunity to send a thank you to someone. I am grateful to know stay in touch with my family members that live overseas and keep connected with friends I have not seen in a long time. How do you express gratitude online? What are you most grateful for? Share below!
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