I join with Lynne West, Gerry Gleeson, and Magenta Appel-Pye (Letters, December and January) in asking The Echo to dedicate a regular space for letters and stories of gratitude, well, more often than ‘The Annual Reading of the Credits’ (29.12.21).
However, when communicating the intangibles of thought and emotion some precautionary discernment is sensible.
I agree with Gerry that gratitude is a limitless resource freely available within any sentient being and that it has powerful and healing effects. But Gerry’s quote ‘the most powerful drug in the world’ is misleading hyperbole, although I get his point.
A new field of mental health called ‘gratitude therapy’ has the potential to displace (not replace) countless prescriptions for the hazardous drugs currently used to treat disorders.
Clinical trials have begun. Unlike drugs, gratitude has no known physical substance or measured doses, no molecule-scale mechanism of action and pharmacology yet discovered.
Drugs are ingested. Gratitude is expressed, looking outward to appreciate something or someone other than ourselves.
One effect of that outward focus is to harmonise and unify the heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit of the source.
Moreover, the inherently relational nature of gratitude widens the scope of the positive benefits far beyond personal health, often interwoven with stories of giving and sharing.
I see gratitude embedded and cultivated in social, ceremonial, and spiritual cultures. Alongside kindness and justice mentioned by Boyd Kellner and other intangibles it is essential for sustainable co-habitation.