The Abundance Paradox
There is a quote in the Quran which states, “Any who is grateful does so to the profit of his own soul.”
Research shows that those who practice gratitude have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, demonstrate greater compassion, experience more optimism and happiness, feel more connected, and experience numerous other benefits.
One of the dangers of living in an affluent society is that we come to expect things to be a certain way, and we get very upset at minor inconveniences. Sociologist Christine Carter refers to this as “the abundance paradox”. The more that we have, the more we are disappointed when we don’t get what we want, rather than being grateful when we do.
How do we then learn to be grateful for what we have?
There are many techniques we can use, but the key is to foster an “attitude of gratitude”, to be continually aware that we have so much to be thankful for.
A recent study conducted at the University of Limerick in Ireland found that the people who experienced the greatest benefits were those who expressed gratitude to others.
This is consistent with research that shows that managers who express gratitude to their employees are not only more effective, their employees express greater job satisfaction, and the managers themselves experience less burnout.
Gratitude is contagious. When we feel appreciated, we naturally express gratitude to others. After time, gratitude becomes a positive habit.
We all have a tendency to feel entitled, and annoyed with inconveniences. When we can take a step back and express reasons to be grateful, however, we find that the world becomes just a little brighter.