Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness or appreciation is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. Gratitude is the feeling you have when you realize that you have so much in your life. No matter what is going wrong or what you still want in your life, be grateful for what you already have. Showing gratitude is one of the fastest ways to turn your life around.
Scientists have discovered that there is a link between gratitude and well being. Grateful people have more enthusiasm, are more satisfied with their life, have more vitality, are more optimistic and have lower levels of depression and stress. Gratitude is reciprocal. One act of gratitude encourages another. Your act of gratitude can trigger a chain reaction.
How do you create a life of gratitude?
Take pleasure in the small things of life.
Reach beyond yourself and do good to other people.
Give with no strings attached.
Be appreciative – tell people what you appreciate about them, you’ll make their day.
Remember to say thank you.
Focus on what you have and what’s going right in your life.
Start a gratitude journal – record small things that make you smile, add photos of people you are grateful for.
Write at least 5 things each day for which you are grateful.
Show your gratitude by giving a card or small gift.
Concentrate on solutions rather than problems.
Look for the good in people and situations.
Spend time helping people who are worse off than you.
Do small kindnesses and bring joy to someone’s heart.
Write a thank you letter for all the good things in your life.
Think of all the little things that cause joy in your life that you have to be grateful for. The more you focus on the good, the more joy you will experience.
Gratitude opens doors for you, enriches your life and overflows into other people’s lives. Create an atmosphere of gratitude and watch it change your life and maybe even those around you. Let’s make the whole world smile.
Getting to a state of happiness and contentment can prove to be challenging for some people. Remaining in that state for any length of time sometimes feels near impossible. While many people happily cite that they are content with themselves and their stations in life, a vast number of us are seemingly on a never ending journey to do better, be better and have more.
There’s nothing wrong with self-improvement and being the best you can be. But by always focusing on obtaining and acquiring more, we are unable to truly appreciate what we already have; and let’s face it: keeping up with the Joneses is exhausting. I think it’s important for our well-being that we appreciate who we are and where we are in life right now.
While some of the responsibility of wanting bigger and better resides within us, we aren’t solely to blame. In a time where the media outlets constantly and aggressively shower us with celebrities who have mega-million dollar mansions, model like partners and ridiculously toned physiques, unless you don’t own a television, ever turn on the radio or submit to not looking at any magazine cover, you are subjected to a daily dose of ‘perfection’ whether you like it or not.
Couple that with the social media and stigmas attached to it and the words “epic fail” will inevitably come to mind from time to time. We constantly subject ourselves to a barrage of friends, family and co-workers’ status updates which include engagements, job promotions and Caribbean getaways (complete with magical pictures)all of which may cause us to step back and examine our own lives. Then the questioning begins. Am I in a good place? Is my job good enough? Will I ever get that promotion? How does he or she stay so thin? When will I find the perfect partner?
Soon enough the panic can set in and the inferiority complex begins. This is damaging not only to one’s physical health but also influences our emotional states. It promotes depression and stress not to mention it may elicit an unhealthy and unnatural need to engage in unhealthy behaviors and unrealistic expectations.
What we need to be focusing on and developing is the fine art of self-worth and reframe the entire idea of the pursuit of happiness. Set aside for a moment the idea of the “American dream” and let go of any and all preconceptions of what brings us happiness. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to improve in areas of one’s life, balance must occur. After all, in order to achieve more, you first have to be content with what you already have.
Stop the Comparisons
The first exercise anyone will need to practice to be happier with themselves and appreciate what they have is to stop negative behaviors. One of those behaviors is stacking yourself and your assets up to those around you. There will always be someone better looking. There will always be someone wealthier. This is a fact of life. Trying to change this will only bring about exhaustion and frustration. This is especially true when we compare our lives to those of celebrities.
Believe it or not, celebrities do not wake up looking any more fabulous than you do. However, they do have a lot of resources to help them look amazing. Surrounding themselves with a flurry of nutritionists, trainers, beauticians and stylists, it may appear that they step on to the red carpet in a flawless manner. The truth is, they spend a lot of money and time to attain that ‘flawless perfection.’ This is time and money the general population doesn’t have.
The time spent comparing what you look like or how much you have to others should be spent focusing on what you have and how you can possibly improve or build upon your individual foundation. If you aren’t happy with your weight, work towards changing it. Join a San Jose health club, or consider joining our boot camps in Campbell, San Jose and Los Gatos. Write your own script and amass your own goals that are not based on anyone else.
Choosing to concentrate on the abundance in your life will help shift your focus and make you happier. Keep in mind that it also comes in many forms–it’s not just about money or good looks. Abundance takes many forms. What are you grateful for in your life? Write down what you are thankful for. Perhaps it’s friends, your children, your job, your health or your significant other. There’s YOUR abundance right there.
Work on Yourself from the Inside Out
A solid foundation is key to happiness. Instead of focusing on others, focus on yourself. Take whatever talents you have and emphasize them or use them in a different capacity than you are currently using them. Using your talents to benefit or help others is one of the best ways to increase your happiness. Most of us get joy out of helping others.
Are you a great dancer? Volunteer to teach the elderly a few steps or work in an impoverished community. Perhaps you have artistic skills? Volunteer those skills and a few hours of your time to others who wish to learn how to draw. While you are teaching others, you are also empowering yourself and this is important when beginning your journey in the pursuit of happiness.
Feeling happier and more fulfilled in your life is within your reach!
When Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret was published in 2006 and later that same year a movie was made, millions jumped on the power of positive thinking bandwagon. Incredibly, Byrne was merely spouting principals that had already been published for centuries, and yet her “secrets” were digested as the best thing since sliced bread. For those who believe the glass is half full, the power of positive thinking is not only a revelation, it is a way of living, which may reap abundant rewards.
For thousands of years, large populations have been assuming that humans simply sending their positive thoughts out into the universe is enough to bring about positive results. The quote “What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind” is from the Buddhist religion and followers hold steadfast to this principal; that simply having a positive outlook can create inner wealth.
The Wiccan religion is also one that utilizes the power of positive thinking as a catapult to send out hopes and dreams into the universe. In this religion, Wiccans believe that any emotion, be it positive or negative, has the power to shift how humans feel and think. They also believe that there are Gods and Goddesses who answer with powerful life lessons and good fortunes. Whether religious or not, many people believe in karma coming full circle, whether positive or negative.
Additionally, some folks who have been faced with serious health issues and life stressors starkly believe that the power of positive thinking not only got them through the tough times, but very well may have saved their lives. These people include Gabrielle Giffords, who after being shot in the head and living to tell about it, has gone on the record numerous times stating that it was her positive outlook, as well as medical treatment that helped her recover.
New York Giants Mark Herzlich took the same approach when he was diagnosed with bone cancer two years ago. Although doctors repeatedly told him he would never play football again, Herzlich chose to believe that he would, and never allowed himself to fall into depression. Instead, he remained optimistic that he would beat his cancer, and by all accounts, he has. He also believes that the advances in medicine as well as positive thinking and a good attitude contributed to his beating of the deadly disease.
Those factors however are spiritually based. For those who don’t believe in a particular religion, there is still science. So what does science tell us about the power of positive thinking? A lot actually. Numerous studies have been conducted in an effort to define whether or not positive thinking can better our sense of well being, and our overall health.
Various studies have shown that people who suffer from long bouts of depression tend to have higher instances of diseases of the heart and liver. Another study that researched female Alzheimer patients concluded that those women who were not stressed and who had a more positive outlook on life fared much better in their recovery and memory recall than those who were overtly depressed or stressed.
Recently a group of law students who were in their first year were studied and samples of their immune cells were taken. Samples from both students who had a positive outlook of the coming year, as well as students who felt unsure or insecure were taken; mid-year the same researchers continued their study and found that the students immune cells who set out on their paths with optimisms and confidence were much healthier than those who were worried or concerned.
The study went on to say that when we are stressed, our bodies may release stress hormones, which then make their way into the bloodstream, causing the immune system to deteriorate and therefore makes us more susceptible to illness and disease.
The Scientific American journal has long reported that people who are more positive or practice the power of positive thinking may have a 55% lower risk of disease, especially diseases of the heart and mind.
Although much of the research on the topic of the power of positive thinking is still mystifying, and scientists still aren’t entirely sure why positive thinking may increase health, there is a lot of interesting and semi-conclusive research that points to positive thinking as having some effect on the mind and body. We will have to wait to see what future studies unveil.
What is known however, is that thinking in an upbeat and positive manner when confronted with life’s challenges certainly does make them easier to deal with and get through, as millions have reported.