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Don’t you feel it?!
The spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving is in the air.
It’s that time of year again-a time when most of us reflect on our lives and recognize how truly Blessed we are.
We can’t help it.
Because during this time of year, we are surrounded with wonderful stories of people helping others, people overcoming tremendous obstacles, people giving generously, people doing downright heroic things.
During this time of year, we see the world the way it should be viewed-with optimism, glee, and love for our fellow man.
But what about the rest of the year?
How do you look at life?
Do you find yourself complaining about every little thing?
Most of us are constantly in a position of slight dissatisfaction. We feel as though there’s ‘one thing’ that could make our lives better and help us to be happier.
Maybe we wish we had just a little bit more money, or maybe we wish we had a bigger house. Maybe we want a better job?
And we keep working harder and stressing more to try and accomplish these things.
We can waste so much of our precious time dreaming of the “if only’s.” So many of us fall into this trap and end up miserable most of our lives. How many times have you found yourself saying, “If only _________ then I could be happy.”
The problem is that if we get caught up in this way of thinking, we will never be happy because there is always something more we will think we need to complete our lives.
So we become discontent with our lives and surroundings.
And it doesn’t help that there’s a whole industry set up to make us feel inadequate. We are not thin enough, or not rich enough, or not hip enough because we are not buying the latest products on the market. These messages ring loud and clear.
This makes it easy to focus on what we don’t have. But what we don’t realize is solely focusing on the negative and on problems gets us more of that.
You may have heard of the ‘law of attraction’ which simply says that what you focus on and where you put your energy is what you are going to get. In other words, you create your reality.
For some of us, it’s difficult to find happiness in our lives because we never learn how to appreciate what we already have. Often times happiness is about paying attention to the good things that are already happening all around us.
So what would happen if instead of waking up complaining, you opened your eyes and gave thanks for your life?
The answer is that you change your focus.
Instead of fixating on what you don’t have and on what you want, you will start fixating on what you already have and what you’re grateful for. Just that little shift in your attitude from complaining to gratitude can make you more aware of the pleasures in your life and all the blessings that surround you.
Gratitude will put your day to day experiences into perspective. When you view the good and the bad, you will be able to move past the constant complaining. This is called a ‘gratitude attitude,’ and it’s the fastest route to having a satisfying and happy life.
Gratitude is a state of being that can be learned. It is an important step in achieving the things you want in life. Viki King said, “You won’t be happy with more until you’re happy with what you’ve got.”
Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the benefits of gratitude. When we sit and think about all the things we want but don’t have, we set ourselves up in a downward spiral of disappointment and negative thinking which can lead to overwork and depression.
Gratitude, on the other hand, lifts our spirits and gives us a clearer focus on life as it really is. Psychology research is clear that gratitude plays an essential role in our physical and mental health. It can minimize stress, depression, and loneliness, while also improving our self-esteem, relationships, motivation, and overall life satisfaction.We will be content with what we have and therefore our attitude will bring us a spirit of peace and contentment.
Also, the adoption of an Attitude of Gratitude brings into focus a whole host of blessings that we might have been overlooking or never have really appreciated.
You may say, “But I don’t have much!” Well, then be thankful for the little things you do have.
Do you have a roof over your head?
Do you have someone who loves you?
Do you have someone you love?
Do you have food on your table?
Do you have your health?
Do you have a job?
Do you have a pillow to sleep on?…a blanket to keep warm?
Do you have your sanity?
These are little things but even the smallest things we can be thankful for.
Someone once said, “If you haven’t all the things you want, at least be grateful for the things you don’t have that you wouldn’t want.”
In essence, there’s always something we can find to be grateful for.
I know this sounds simplistic, and I know that there are always things that many of us truly need…but if we start changing our attitudes and develop an attitude of gratitude, then we will be in a better position to allow our positive thoughts to direct us in a way in which we can achieve more.
So, let’s make every effort to get rid of these negative thoughts that hinder our life’s journey and learn to develop positive thoughts that will help us achieve our goals.
Having gratitude definitely can help. It can break through huge barriers and reduce our stress loads, give us more confidence to meet our goals-no matter how big they may be.
Essentially, there’s no doubt that being grateful goes a long way.
So let’s cultivate an attitude of gratitude using these 6 tips:
Start a Gratitude Journal or Gratitude List.
You should set aside a few minutes each day to write down 3 or 4 things you are grateful for. It can be as simple as you woke up this morning or as complex as something that happened during the day. Writing down what you are grateful for can help you realize how blessed you are.
Here are some questions that can help you discover gratitude in the following areas:
Do you feel you have enough? Do you think it’s managed well? Do you feel a lack of money is affecting other areas.
Do you enjoy your job? What parts do you like? Where is it taking you? Is there any part of you that is still wanting more from your job? In what way?
Do you feel fulfilled and happy in this area? Do you feel loved and accepted for who you are? Have you got great friends?
Do you have goals? Do you have a sense of where you are headed and do you know how to get there? Do you feel your goals are realistic for what you want to do and where you want to be?
Health and Wellness
Are you comfortable in your body? What parts are working well? What isn’t doing so well? Are you filled with energy? Do you feel healthy?
In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, it was found that individuals who counted their blessings on a frequent basis were more likely to be happy than individuals who didn’t. Hence, creating a “Gratitude List” can be a very useful tool in improving our happiness and well-being.
Consider making a list of the things you struggle to be grateful for and the things you are already thankful for.
#2 Slow Down
Take a minute to stop and appreciate the world around you. In other words, stop rushing through your day. Stop yourself before you become overwhelmed and the negative feelings start to take hold. Stop, breathe, look around, find something beautiful to absorb. Focus on it and breathe. (See the meditation exercises in the Gratitude Journal.)
#3 Create a Positive Mindset
This can feel difficult. However, if you can achieve it you will benefit greatly. Before you allow yourself to get upset, stop yourself, and think it through with a positive attitude. You might have to meditate on it, you might have to get yourself into a calm state before you address the situation – whatever it takes. Take a minute to look for the good in the situation.
Practice the Pause strategy can help with curbing irrational thoughts and actions.
#4 Do Random Acts of Kindness
Doing a small act of kindness is a great way to express a more positive and appreciative outlook on life. When we do nice things for others, it strengthens our beliefs that we are good people living in a good world, even if it isn’t always perfect.
Share kindness with those around you. Say something nice to a stranger or a friend. Spread the love and lift up another human being. You will make their day and yours too.
Here are super simple acts of kindness you can practice on a daily basis. Choose just one and do it today:
Give someone a genuine compliment.
Smile at a stranger.
Say Good Morning and mean it.
Plan a fun social event for friends, family, and/or co-workers, like going to a bar or restaurant.
Be a good listener when someone needs to vent.
Leave a generous tip for a friendly waiter/waitress.
Print out inspirational quotes to give to people.
According to research, volunteering has shown to have numerous benefits for both our physical and mental health. The psychological benefits include increases in positive emotions and life satisfaction, decreases in stress and anxiety, and a strengthened sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.
When we spend time helping others, it takes us out of our “limited view” of the world and allows us to see the “bigger picture” – especially in regards to how our lives are often much more fortunate than some other people’s situations.
Volunteering gives you the opportunity to “give back” to those who are in more need than you are. This doesn’t only improve your appreciation for your own life, but it also gives you a healthy sense of pride for contributing to society in a positive way. There are many opportunities to volunteer and help others in your community.
Here are some places that often offer volunteer work:
- Soup Kitchens
- Animal Shelters
- Activist Groups
- Homeless Shelters
- After-school programs like The Boys and Girls Club
Try your best to schedule some time this week volunteering somewhere. Or, if you really don’t have the time, consider donating to a charity or non-profit organization that you believe is doing
good work. Finding ways to give back to society is one of the best ways of expressing gratitude.
#6 Say “Thank You” More Often
When we say “thank you” it isn’t just about good manners – the language we use on a daily basis influences our overall attitude in life. Studies show that receiving a “thank you” also motivates people to be more kind and social.I know this seems like a “no-brainer,” but you would be surprised at how many people don’t show some type of appreciation for the following:
- Someone holds the door for you.
- Someone helps you pick up something you dropped.
- Someone gives you a compliment.
- While driving, someone lets you go ahead of them.
- A co-worker brings in snacks or cookies for the office.
These are all small things, but they are all worthy of a small “Thanks,” “I appreciate it,” a nod of the head, a thumbs up, or a friendly hand gesture. People who don’t follow these common courtesies tend to appear bitter and angry at life. It’s not a good look or a healthy attitude. Saying “thank you” doesn’t take much effort and with practice it’ll become more natural, but mostly you it’s the least we can do to show appreciation and make a contribution to what’s good in the world.
William Arthur Ward once said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessing.”
Gratitude is the unique quality of being entirely thankful for what you have, as well as always being ready to appreciate and help others. Gratitude is one of the primary keys to living a happy and prosperous life. For when you show gratitude for what yo have, you are content with your life and positive about all that it has to offer.
So, if you feel a lack of gratitude in your life and are afraid that it may be creating a void, it is time for you to take action and learn how you can develop gratitude to live a happier life.
If you are currently in a difficult situation in your life and think that it is impossible for you to be thankful, then it’s time you learned how to cultivate gratitude and achieve greatness. With your determination and effort, you can quickly develop a sense of gratitude and become content with yourself and your life.
Gratitude, like any skill, can be learned and you can develop habits of gratitude. With practice, gratitude can become a choice. You can learn how to bring gratitude into your life and improve your overall well-being and live a happier life.
So, don’t wait until Thanksgiving rolls around each year to be thankful. Make it a point to develop an attitude of gratitude in your daily life.
Ode 2 the good life! It’s the only life you should life!