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Thinking about the Strength of Gratitude

by | Oct 3, 2023 | Coaching, Integrity, Leadership, Psychological safety, Strengths

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Gratitude is one of the five character strengths that comprise the Virtue of Transcendence.

Transcendence describes strengths that help you connect to the larger universe and provide meaning.

What is gratitude?

The character strength of gratitude involves feeling and expressing a deep sense of thankfulness in life, and more specifically, taking the time to genuinely express thankfulness to others. 

We can be grateful for deliberate acts by others, such as a piece of art from a child, or for spontaneous treasures, such as a cool breeze on your face on a hot day. What marks gratitude is the psychological response: the transcendent feeling of thankfulness, the sense of having been given a gift by that person or event. 

There are two types of gratitude:

  • Benefit-triggered gratitude = the state that follows when a desired benefit is received from a benefactor.
  • Generalized gratitude = the state resulting from awareness and appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to yourself. There are two stages of gratitude:
    • Acknowledging the goodness in your life.
    • Recognizing the source of this goodness is outside yourself.

Why is gratitude of value?

  • Grateful people experience a variety of positive emotions, and those emotions inspire them to act in more virtuous ways – humbler, more persistent, or kinder.
  • Gratitude has spiritual benefits such as a feeling of interconnectedness with life, a general sense of responsibility toward others and reduced emphasis on material goods.
  • Gratitude activities have been widely successful in boosting wellbeing and managing depression.

A couple of questions to consider

  • What is most rewarding to you about expressing gratitude?
  • What concerns do you have, if any, in expressing gratitude to certain people?

Some things that you can do to practise gratitude

  • Download the ShareTree app ( and express gratitude to someone by sending them a leaf or record something or someone you are grateful for in the gratitude journal.
  • Make a point of going out of your way at work to express thanks to someone who is not typically recognised, explaining why you are grateful to them. Then observe their reaction.
  • Select one small aspect of yourself that you have taken for granted. Bring your mindful awareness to it and feel the emotion of gratitude for this part of yourself. 

For more information on the strength of gratitude, go to

If you are interested in exploring how the practice of Character Strengths might be of benefit to your business and culture, contact Peter Maguire on 0438 533 311 or at

Acknowledgement: the primary reference for this post is “The Power of Character Strengths: Appreciate And Ignite Your Positive Personality” by Ryan M. Niemiec & Robert E. McGrath (An Official Guide From The VIA Institute on Character)



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