Gratitude is a powerful quality that can truly enhance our wellbeing. When we express and practice gratitude, we are focused on the goodness in our lives. Focusing on the good always works in our favor.
Basically, focusing on good things makes us feel good. While this may seem obvious, it’s amazing how something so simple can be overlooked.
We may see this concept at work more when the opposite is happening. That is, when we are focused on negative situations we might notice how bad we feel. This can show up as being short tempered, easily frustrated or overly anxious.
Choosing to be grateful when we are having negative emotions can shift the way we feel in a very short period of time. It is a matter of choosing to do so.
We can begin by giving thanks for everyday things that are easy to take for granted. For example, we can stop and give thanks for a hot shower, good food, electricity and a place to call home.
It is when we lose these things that we realize just how important they are to us. The idea is to recognize this and be grateful for the things we have rather than focusing on what we think we lack.
There is a notion that “the grass looks greener on the other side.” Once we spend some time on the other side we realize that we have much to be grateful for on our own side of the fence.
What if, instead of wanting something more or different, we decided to pause and give thanks for what we currently have? We may actually begin feeling happier rather than feeling the need to spend time, money and energy searching for happiness.
About this time last year I purchased a piece of wall art that says, “Grateful | Thankful | Blessed”. I hung it where I would see it every morning. I believe that starting each day with gratitude can make a difference with how our day unfolds.
We get more of what we think about it. If we begin our day by thinking about the good things in our lives we are likely to approach the rest of the day with a more positive perspective. This in turn will affect how we respond to the things and people around us.
Of course there are periods of life when it can be very difficult to be grateful. This includes times when we experience hardships, suffer losses and seem unable to make ends meet. Ironically, this is probably when it would serve us the most.
Practicing gratitude in hard times can make us more resilient to our situations. It can tap into a source of power and energy that we cannot produce on our own. We are called to give thanks always and in all circumstances.
There may be times where we genuinely feel that we have very little for which to be grateful. This is understandable in certain situations. We must be encouraged to look deeper.
In fact, what I know to be true is that we can choose to give thanks even in the worst of times. This is a way to remain faithful and hopeful for all the good that is yet to come.
Along these lines, it is important that we find a way to be happy for the people who have the things that we desire. This is a significant step to receiving these things for ourselves. It’s as if we have to want it for others before we can have it for ourselves.
We can make a deliberate decision to look for and find things to be grateful for each day. In doing so we may become more aware of the positive impact that others have on our lives.
When we do we can let others know the reason, specifically, that we are grateful for them. This will generate even more reasons to be grateful for both us and them.
Gratitude begets gratitude. That’s how it works.
Please know how grateful I am that you read this column. Thank You and Happy Thanksgiving!