Those who are more materialistic are more likely to relentlessly pursue wealth. Gratitude has caused me to focus less on things that don’t matter, like making money, and more on the things that do, like my family and this blog. Spiritual transcendence is I believe the opposite to also be true, that gratitude spontaneously gives rise to spiritual attribution, helping one feel closer to God or other religious entities.
So while gratitude won’t make you lazy, over your lifetime you may end up earning less money. You may, for example, spend time with friends, family, and your hobbies. I am irreligious, and have found gratitude practices to make my spiritual position difficult – those moments when I feel intense gratitude make me want to believe in a benevolent God.
Hedonic adaptation gives unparalleled resiliency and keeps us motivated to achieve ever greater things.
I expect this to change – because of my compassion and gratitude practices I am starting to have spontaneous urges to help others.
This is because the very nature of gratitude is to focus on others (on acts of benevolence).
If we perceive our current life to have more good, we will also believe our future life to have more good.
Optimism is correlated with gratitude because those with an optimistic disposition are biologically more likely to focus on the good (gratitude) than on the bad (personal disappointment, anxiety, etc…). The problem with materialism is that it makes people feel less competent, reduces feelings of relatedness and gratitude, reduces their ability to appreciate and enjoy the good in life, generates negative emotions, and makes them more self-centered.
This also means that we get use to the bad things that happen to us.
Put more simply, we get use to the good things that happen to us.
For example, spiritual individuals are more likely to feel a strong spiritual or emotional connection with others, and to believe in inter-connectedness.
Both are prerequisites for feeling gratitude – someone who feels weak connections with others, and who believes in the illusion of self-sufficiency is unlikely to feel gratitude. I’m a lot better now that I’ve brought gratitude into my life, but I still spend way too much time thinking about myself, and too little thinking about others.
This list of benefits was compiled by aggregating the results of more than 40 research studies on gratitude.
It also kills our marriages – we get use to our amazing spouse (or kids, or job, or house, or car, or game).
That can work, but it can also make us narcissistic or even back-fire and lower self-esteem. Despite your asking and pleading, no one helps you.