An interesting piece from BigThink about the benefits stemming from the practice or discipline of gratitude.
One key of understanding how gratitude works resides in forgetting about the popular notion that our thoughts influence reality beyond our means. Formerly called sympathetic magic, Barbara Ehrenreich writes about this phenomenon...
"Thoughts are not objects with mass; they are patterns of neuronal firing within the brain…if they were exerting some sort of gravitational force on material objects around them, it would be difficult to take off one’s hat."
Focusing on gratitude during meditation (and subsequently in our lives) changes our outlook on life, not life itself. This is what helps making it through the day more pleasant, what makes even daunting tasks seem accomplishable. This is not to deny problems we may have in our lives; it’s simply disciplining ourselves to not devote mental energy towards them when unnecessary.