I understand this is a bit old-school, however I often go to the dictionary when looking for a clear definition of a word or phrase. It allows me to be direct with my thoughts, and can at times cause confusion. Again this is true today.
Webster’s defines Gratitude as quite simply as “the state of being grateful; Thankfulness”. There is a lot of discussion about having gratitude, or living a gratitude filled life. Maybe I have viewed Gratitude incorrectly and my thinking is skewed.
I have always looked at gratitude as giving with no expectations, with no chance of a return. Zig used to say have an attitude of gratitude. I would never challenge Zig, but what dose that mean?
Let’s go back to Webster’s. My searched found that maybe it means to give gratuitous, or given unearned or without recompense, or not involving a return benefit, compensation, or consideration. For free. How about unwarranted?
When we give with the Attitude of Gratitude and it is truly a Gratuitous offer, the question now becomes how does this affect me. the giver? Ok, the question that comes to surface for most of our actions is “why” would we give freely with no return? The truth is we don’t.
My answer is being gratuitous affects our emotions. We get something far more superior than a return of goods. Your body is set to release chemicals in your system when you do things benefiting others. There are other benefits as well.
Review this article that shares 5 benefits of giving to others.
Thanks for spending a few minutes with me today.
#10 Seconds Daily
The 5 Side Effects of Kindness
When we think of side effects the first thing that springs to mind are the side effects of drugs. But who’d have thought that kindness could have side effects too?
Well, it does! And positive ones at that.
1) Kindness Makes us Happier
When we do something kind for someone else, we feel good. On a spiritual level, many people feel that this is because it is the right thing to do and so we’re tapping into something deep and profound inside of us that says, ‘This is who I am.’
On a biochemical level, it is believed that the good feeling we get is due to elevated levels of the brain’s natural versions of morphine and heroin, which we know as endogenous opioids. They cause elevated levels of dopamine in the brain and so we get a natural high, often referred to as ‘Helper’s High’.
2) Kindness Is Good for the Heart
Acts of kindness are often accompanied by emotional warmth. Emotional warmth produces the hormone, oxytocin, in the brain and throughout the body. Of recent interest is its significant role in the cardiovascular system.
Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates (expands) the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and therefore oxytocin is known as a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone because it protects the heart (by lowering blood pressure). The key is that acts kindness can produce oxytocin and therefore kindness can be said to be cardioprotective.
3) Kindness Slows Ageing
Ageing on a biochemical level is a combination of many things, but two culprits that speed the process are Free Radicals and Inflammation, both of which result from making unhealthy lifestyle choices.
But remarkable research now shows that oxytocin (that we produce through emotional warmth) reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system and so slows ageing at source. Incidentally these two culprits also play a major role in heart disease so this is also another reason why kindness is good for the heart.
There have also been suggestions in the scientific journals of the strong link between compassion and the activity of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve, as well as regulating heart rate, also controls inflammation levels in the body. One study that used the Tibetan Buddhist’s ‘Loving Kindness Compassion’ meditation found that kindness and compassion did, in fact, reduce inflammation in the body, mostly likely due to its effects on the vagus nerve.
4) Kindness Improves Relationships
This is one of the most obvious points. We all know that we like people who show us kindness. This is because kindness reduces the emotional distance between two people and so we feel more ‘bonded’. It’s something that is so strong in us that it’s actually a genetic thing. We are wired for kindness.
Our evolutionary ancestors had to learn to cooperate with one another. The stronger the emotional bonds within groups, the greater were the chances of survival and so ‘kindness genes’ were etched into the human genome.
So today when we are kind to each other we feel a connection and new relationships are forged, or existing ones strengthened.
5) Kindness is Contagious
When we’re kind we inspire others to be kind and studies show that it actually creates a ripple effect that spreads outwards to our friends’ friends’ friends – to 3-degrees of separation. Just as a pebble creates waves when it is dropped in a pond, so acts of kindness ripple outwards touching others’ lives and inspiring kindness everywhere the wave goes.
A study reported than an anonymous 28-year-old person walked into a clinic and donated a kidney. It set off a ‘pay it forward’ type ripple effect where the spouses or other family members of recipients of a kidney donated one of theirs to someone else in need. The ‘domino effect’, as it was called in the New England Journal of Medicine report, spanned the length and breadth of the United States of America, where 10 people received a new kidney as a consequence of that anonymous donor.