Gratitude is known to contribute to your well-being and that of your family, friends and coworkers. At its core, gratitude is altruistic and has the capacity to strengthen social bonds, create goodwill, and in turn, build positive and healthy communities. 

The emotion (feeling) of gratitude is contagious, and once observed, there’s a universal tendency to extend the feeling of gratitude to others, to reciprocate, furthering goodwill and well-being for all humankind. Having practice techniques in place to regularly and genuinely express and receive gratitude helps ensure reciprocity, promotes prosocial behaviors and acknowledges someone for their value as a human being.

Social scientists referred to gratitude as the recognition of goodness outside yourself. To practice gratitude is to recognize when someone has done something for you, on your behalf. You become the beneficiary of someone’s gift of kindness, thoughtfulness, or generosity. Gratitude becomes a motivator to extend a “gift” back to the giver or others. It suggests you are more than your individual self; you’re acting on someone else’s behalf, showing concern for their well-being, in their best interest.

As you go about your day, consider two people in your life who are largely unrecognized for what they do, and yet, you, your neighborhood, or your organization benefit from their actions and contributions. Set a goal to express gratitude to these two individuals in the next two weeks.

Go gratefully!