Introduction to the Feeling

Gratitude based on a circumstance outside yourself and beyond your control.

The most common experience of gratitude is a very a fleeting feeling that arises from an external stimulus and of which we have little or no control over. We feel this ‘momentary’ gratitude, perhaps even multiple times a day, in the form of shining bursts of joy in an otherwise static day. Receiving a gift or praise, for example, inspires gratitude in that moment. We are appreciative of the gift and of the gift giver and, with that gratitude comes joy at having received something. After receiving a gift and feeling grateful in the moment, our spirits are lifted until the excitement wears off and we return to our basic level on the “emotional barometer.”

This type of gratitude is based entirely upon external circumstances, whether that be from a person or situation. The purpose of this presentation is to connect you, the reader, with the feeling of gratitude that you are likely most familiar with. The following pieces offer insight and tools for creating a gratitude practice that is only reliant on yourself.

Feeling gratitude and joy for a moment is, of course, not a bad thing. Who doesn’t love receiving a surprise gift from a friend? There is nothing wrong with feeling grateful when you are given a gift or validation. The downside to this type is that the gratitude and joy you feel is not long lasting – once the initial experience wears off, you return to your base state (which may include worrying about the problems in your life).

Want this warm feeling to last a little longer? Don’t forget to say “Thank you!” Saying ‘thank you’ outloud can uplift your mood just as much as the mood of who you are thanking. When you are saying thank you, avoid it become a reactionary habit and, therefore, losing meaning. Many people say thank you without FEELING the gratitude. Take a moment to connect to the feeling and expressing that feelings as a genuine thank you rather than a reaction based on a societal expectation. Again, check out the “Gratitude for Others” section to see how other kinds of gratitude can have long lasting effects.

Note:  The joy we feel at receiving the gift can also come from our appreciation for the gift itself and/or in recognition of the intention behind the gift. For example, when a pre-schooler gives her macaroni creation to her father, it is likely he will enjoy the gift for her creativity and, perhaps more so, he will love it because of the love and thought she put into creating something for him. It is easy to see that this type of gift, specifically, has the potential to lead to gratitude beyond the moment and offers an opportunity. Each gift has intention and it is up to us to see the meaning behind it as the true gift. Read more about this in Other Oriented Gratitude and Showing Appreciation.

Articles

Article     Summary                                        

The Three Types of Gratitude This article separates Gratitude into three main types: 1) Lip Service-Gratitude; 2) Attitude Gratitude; 3) I Am Gratitude Take the time to read through all three articles and the types of gratitude they discuss.
The Five Kinds of Gratitude This author chooses 5 main types: 1) For something; 2) For not something; 3) Excessive; 4) Reluctant; 5) For nothing With a significant amount of overlap, each article is illustrating the many fact that Gratitude is made up of many nuances and experiences.
Three Types of Gratitude This author also breaks into three parts 1) Reactive; 2) Active; 3) Pro-Active At the core, is the point that Gratitude is a PRACTICE.

Note that these articles discuss the multiple types of gratitude that are presented on these pages.