“Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.” – Lamartine
With Thanksgiving around the corner and the rest of the holiday season not too far behind, gratitude seems an obvious topic to come to mind.
You may think of gratitude as a simple gesture of expressing thanks. But really, gratitude blossoms far beyond this gesture, starting within and extending out to connect us with other humans and the world around us.
As the French poet Alphonse de Lamartine implies, “Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.” The power of true gratitude is transformative; it is a testament to the deep connection shared by humanity.
In the face of difficulty — especially so — gratitude, or the expression and embodiment of it, is a vehicle that can help us reorient ourselves to sources of joy, love, light, and hope. Oftentimes, the fast-paced nature of the world we all live in today, combined with work, family, and logistical stressors, can weigh on our thoughts, which influence the way we experience certain moments, such as the holidays.
When we are struggling or experiencing higher levels of emotional turmoil, it can be very difficult to move forward because our thoughts become stuck in a downward spiral. The holidays can be stressful at times; it’s easy to get caught up in the logistics until they become something to simply “get through.”
Approaching this season with an intention of gratitude, both towards others and towards ourselves, can feed our well-being by helping us reorient our thoughts in an uphill direction and elevate the moments we have with others. Along the way, it connects us to deep and intangible sources of joy, love, light, and hope, in a way that only a profound connection with humanity can.
So the question becomes: how do we cultivate this intention of gratitude even in every season of life so that we can experience moments of true love and presence?
When we truly embody the notion of gratitude, we live it ideally through all three aspects of our being: the body, the mind, and the spirit.
Through our body, we can express gratitude with our actions towards ourselves and others. What acts of kindness can you do for your loved ones to show your appreciation for them? What can you do to show yourself grace?
Through our thoughts, we can adapt a mindset oriented toward the gratitude we feel for our loved ones; our circumstances; the large and small things that bring us joy. And, we can trust that it will help guide us uphill.
What are you most grateful for in your life? How do you feel when you spend time recognizing those things, compared to how you feel when focused on complaints or resentment?
In our spirit, it’s important to recognize the true depth and expansiveness of gratitude. To return to Lamartine’s sentiment, gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy. When expressed authentically, it is a shared experience amongst not only your loved ones, but all human beings. Think of the food you eat. Who prepared it? Who helped to package it? Who grew the vegetables?
Through these often-overlooked threads, we are all connected, and a simple intention of gratitude for all who’ve had a hand in your experience — whether you know them or not — brings those threads to life.
With this holiday season upon us, we’d like to encourage you to spend some time in reflection about the role of gratitude in your life. Cultivating a mindset oriented towards gratitude is a part of a larger work on our path to well-being, but for now, enjoy taking a step on this path by building awareness. Happy holidays!
PALM Health is an innovative lifestyle medicine and wellness center that offers a comprehensive range of advanced medical and wellness services, empowering people to transform their health and feel their best in mind and body.