How do you feel when a loved one gives you a gift? How about when someone ahead of you in line pays for your coffee? Hopefully you experience gratitude--a warm appreciation for what the other person did.
We say hopefully, because gratitude not only makes you feel good --it can have dramatic and lasting effects on your wellbeing. Research indicates that gratitude can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, reduce cardiac inflammation, increase happiness, improve relationships, and decrease depression.
However, sometimes people feel more indebted than grateful and worry about repaying the gift. They may dislike feeling dependent on someone else or worry that they are not seen as self-reliant. And because of this, they miss out on the joy of receiving a gift and the positive emotions and connection that arise from truly thanking someone.