This past month, I have experienced a lot of emotionally and physically draining situations. I haven’t been in the best place in terms of my thoughts, moods, and emotions. I am going through so many different transitions in my life, where I am having difficulty seeing “the good” lately. I have moments of clarity and peace, of joy and positivity, and then it fades and I resume to my gloomy and negative outlook. It seems like one thing after another happens that causes me stress and inner conflict. It leaves me feeling like I can’t catch a break. Though, I have learned by now that many things in life are fleeting and that the only constant in life is change, it is still sometimes hard to see the silver lining. So how can I have a better outlook on life and the way I feel about my current situation? Well, many of the books I have been reading have touched on the idea of gratitude and it has peeked my interest. As I looked further into it, I found that many others have discovered the idea how developing the attitude of gratitude can greatly improve one’s overall health and happiness.
It’s strange to think that having a different perspective alone can change our whole feeling and attitude about our life or some aspect of it. An example would be when someone is initially miserable but then experiences a near-death experience and suddenly has a new appreciation and zest for life; now realizing that they have been given a second chance. That same person wakes up excited about their day and happy to be alive. But why should we need to have such a dramatic life altering event in order to see things or life differently? Can we change our attitude without having a near-death experience? If so, how?
Like anything else, the attitude of gratitude is a skill. So how do we get better at something? We practice. While practice doesn’t make perfect, as they try to say, it does make it easier. Remember learning a new skill or sport when you were a kid? It felt awkward and unfamiliar at first, but each time you did it, you got a little better and it became a little easier to do. Well the same can be said for practicing an attitude of gratitude. You get better by doing it and putting it to practice. Many people that have improved their lives through gratitude have all said very similar advice when you first get started. They say before you go to bed at night (or when you get up in the morning) to say one to three things you are grateful for in your life, and to do this daily.
Gradually, your attitude starts to change and you are suddenly putting more focus on what you are grateful for and happy about in your life, instead of the things that you are unhappy about. Many will tell you that when they focus on these grateful thoughts, they start to attract more of these positive things into their life. In return, you get more of what you want and less of what you don’t want. Why does this happen? Perhaps, your change in perspective makes you realize that you are happy with what you have, instead of being in a constant state of wanting more. What a dissatisfying way to live, always wanting more and never having enough. Yet, we all do it. What is wrong with wanting more? Nothing, but by constantly complaining about what you don’t have or how unhappy you are, you are never turning your attention to what you do want, so you’ll just stay in your slump and never find your way out, unless you change your attitude.
Lastly, I want to tell you that I am currently just starting this habit myself. This is why I can only share what I am learning from others at this point. I occasionally stopped to be thankful, but it never became a habit, so I never had the mind altering change of waking up every day grateful to be alive and happy to be exactly where I am in life. It doesn’t have to be this huge, dramatic event in your life, but instead a gradual change of habit and thought pattern. In the end, I believe it will reduce my daily stress, improve my relationships (because I’m appreciating them), help me to sleep better at night (because I’m worrying less), and then I’ll have better overall health (because I won’t be constantly making myself sick with worry). I see only upsides on this. So why don’t you join in starting this practice today, right now.
I’m grateful for the ability to learn new lessons in life and grow every day. I’m grateful for my life and the relationships I am blessed with. I’m grateful for the ability to write and share myself with the world with an open heart and mind. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to read my blog and listen to my deepest thoughts each week.