The gratitude cliché: Why does gratitude work?

It’s one of the biggest clichés in self-development that it’s important to have gratitude.
It’s important to be grateful.
Count your blessings.
Some people recommend a gratitude meditation.
Write down everything you’re thankful for in your gratitude journal.
And, you know, if you’re having a bad day, sometimes the last thing you want to hear is somebody telling you to count your blessings, and you should be happy with what you have.
So I always dismissed this way of talking as the same way I dismissed a lot of self-development, as this kind of cliché, cheesy platitudes.
But, what can I say? It works.
I don’t know why.
When I have this attitude of being grateful for what I have, everything seems to go better.
I have a better mindset, I enjoy life more, and I’m more effective.
So as annoying as it is to be one of those positivity people who just keeps expressing gratitude for everything, there’s something very powerful about doing that.
I’m still trying to figure out why.
I don’t really have an answer for why it is so powerful and effective.
But it seems to be connected to this idea of what am I owed? What is my entitlement? What am I entitled to? What is my right? What belongs to me? What can I claim? What do I expect for my life? It seems like the more I expect as my entitlement, something that I deserve and can claim, the less happy I am, the less I appreciate what I have, take it for granted.
And it tends to lead to negative mental state and this kind of selfish, grasping behaviour.
When you feel the gratitude, it seems like you feel rich.
You feel like the whole world is yours, and you are blessed with overflowing abundance.
So when I feel that way, then I can act with a sense of generosity, a giving spirit, because I feel this overflowing abundance.
But if I have that opposite feeling, the feeling that I’m entitled to all these things, and I’m not getting some of them, so I’m upset that the universe is not giving me what I want and expect, then I feel like I am poor, that I am lacking.
And that leads me towards an attitude of grasping for whatever I can get, clinging to what I have, being stingy.
The opposite of generous and overflowing with abundance.
It’s like a mental trick to remind yourself that you are rich because you have life If you are alive, and how much more if you are healthy, and how much more if you are young, that you have an incredible wealth.
You have this incredible power and riches simply by having the chance to exist and live your life.
It’s so hard to think of this when having a bad day, because all the little things of the day, it’s like clouds that are obscuring this basic truth, that basically, life is a wonderful thing to have.
Just that joy gets covered up by all the little things that we have to do, all the problems that get in the way of getting what we want and expect.
But imagine you expect nothing.
Imagine you have no expectation that you will live another day.
You don’t expect it.
It’s purely a gift.
So you wake up and find that you’re alive.
How do you feel? How does it feel to have another day of life? If I was expecting that, I’m entitled to one more day of life, it’s automatic, of course I’m gonna live another day of life, then pfff, no big deal.
It’s another day of life.
It’s normal.
It’s what I’ve come to expect.
But if I am not expecting it, if I have no- what if I was already dead, and I had a chance to go back and live one day of life? How amazing would that be, if I simply did not expect to have that day of life, and then discovered that I have it? That, to me, is the kind of feeling that real gratitude brings out.
The feeling of wow, thank you, whatever this is, whatever universe, whatever it is that it’s giving me this chance to live another day of life: thank you, because this is amazing.

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