Studying happy and successful people has always been a life-long preoccupation of mine. What makes these people the way they are when billions of other people are unhappy with their lives? One day, I came to realize that there was always one common denominator between all of them.
This determining factor that I’m talking about is gratitude. Regardless of their background or education level, happy people seem to share a common interest in this practice as if this alone could lead you to an extraordinary life.
I believe that it has been true for myself up until now. Contrary to popular beliefs, gratitude is not a magic pill that will solve all your problems. Rather, it’s an on-going process that has been proven to yield results over time if you give it enough time.
Before we dive into how gratitude can help you experience a totally different quality of life, let’s start off by defining gratitude and give it a clear meaning.
What Is Gratitude?
Gratitude is the process of counting your blessings. In other words, everything you have in your life that you are thankful for. In its highest form, called ‘’unconditional gratitude’’ in Louise Hay’s book ‘’Gratitude: A Way Of Life’’, it also means being grateful for the spiritual growth that difficult people or challenges have provided us.
What I love about gratitude is that you can’t be both angry and grateful at the same time. It changes your state instantly and make it extremely hard to go back to the old, disempowering state of frustration or anger.
Contrary to popular beliefs, gratitude is not innate and certainly not something you do once and stop. Rather, it’s a habit or a state of being that you must practice every single day to get good at.
Oftentimes, people have the misconception that gratitude is nothing but a bunch of woo-woo positive thinking when it’s not. As a matter of fact, gratitude has some scientifically proven interesting benefits.
The Benefits Of Gratitude
For starters, gratitude increases generosity. It’s not so surprising when you consider the fact that it makes you feel abundant. When you feel abundant, you naturally also feel good about your life which makes you more likely to give.
Not only that, but it also seem to rejuvenate the body. Have you ever managed to guess how harsh or nice a person was just by looking at their faces? I sure have. After all, the muscles we use the most consistently are the ones that are the most visible to other people.
In Louise Hay’s same book ‘’Gratitude: A Way Of Life’’, doctor Emmett E. Miller says that, ‘’Whether we feel gratitude and fullness, or loss, deprivation and resentment, a corresponding internal chemical state is created. This state, in return, generates characteristic behaviours – health or disease, empowerment or powerlessness, fulfilment or dissatisfaction, success or failure.’’
This goes to show how big of a role gratitude plays in our physical health and well-being. It can literally create or destroy health!
Of course, there are many many other underlying benefits such as releasing a sense of loss and help you forget your problems by shifting your focus.
5 Ways To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude
1 – Say ‘’Thank You’’ Throughout The Day
I know that you are already a very polite person, but what I’m referring to is actually the opposite: politeness is often used as a way to show respect to someone. What I’m talking about is showing a deep and genuine sense of appreciation towards them.
In fact, you don’t need to wait that somebody makes you a gift to thank them with intention. Appreciate even the smallest things, such as being your friends or partner.
2 – Keep A Gratitude Journal
Each day, right down a few things that you are grateful for. It may not seem like much, but it will add up over time and help you create momentum. Eventually, you’ll have successfully built the habit.
Once again, I wouldn’t recommend that you are grateful about the big things – although you could if you run out of ideas. The smallest things often make the biggest difference, because your life is made up of these small things altogether.
For instance, be grateful for waking up in the morning or having a cover that kept you cozy and warm during a cold winter night.
3 – Count Your Blessings Many Times Throughout The Day
I would even go as far as to recommend that you add gratitude in your morning ritual. Make it a priority in your life. After all, this alone can change your life!
Instead of waking up being reactive checking your emails and going to work, why wouldn’t you start your day in a more peaceful and empowering way?
4 – Reflect On Past Hurts And Be Thankful
Time to practice unconditional gratitude! Look back on painful experiences that you’ve had in the past and be grateful for them. Of course, you can’t but if you could, what would you be grateful for?
I’m grateful for my mother passing away because it changed me into the person I’m proud to be today. Spiritual growth is often the best, surest and easiest way to feel appreciation towards a painful event.
5 – Pretend To Be Grateful
Once again, ‘’fake it until you make it’’ returns! But it’s been proven to work so why wouldn’t you use its power? In times where you feel anger, frustration and despair sinking in and think that there’s no way you can be grateful, just pretend to be and before long.. you will be!
Once mastered, gratitude has the power to positively transform your life. However, just like anything else in life, it requires consistency. Any habit feels unnatural at first and makes us doubt whether or not it’s the right choice. Oftentimes, we feel worse before we begin to feel better.
Gratitude is one of those things. If you give it enough time to work, then it surely will. One of the biggest advantages of gratitude is that anybody can do it and it’s completely free!
How awesome is that for something that can change your mood and lead you to a better life in a matter of seconds?
Originally published on www.furudo.com