Gratitude is an astonishing force in the universe. It’s really not the fluffy, frivolous concept on Hallmark cards. It’s a powerhouse of physical health, motivation, emotional well-being, belonging and social engagement.
It impacts patience
The pandemic has changed the way we experience life. And it’s made us impatient. We’re impatient with small irritations in our lives – little things we’d otherwise ignore. We’re impatient with the pandemic itself – it’s time we got on with our lives, right? We’re impatient with each other – my life is upside down as it is. Now you’re adding your bit to my chaos!
But gratitude recuses impatience. And this is straight from the Psychological Science magazine!
The study found that people who were focused on gratitude were more resilient and showed much more patience than those who were focused on their discomfort.
Added to that, the Review of Communication tells us that gratitude directly affects our mental and emotional states.
Gratitude is the root of happiness after all
Gratitude shifts the focus from what you lack. And it does so in an instant. Philosophers would have it that gratitude and unhappiness cannot share the same space.
Gratitude also shifts you from the past into the present – and the result is a more mindful experience of life. There is more appreciation for the now, and that brings more joy and peace.
That makes gratitude a sort of gateway emotion. It leads to so many other positive emotions!
It’s really good for your community and your relationships, personal or in business.
Scientific proof says it leads to better sleep, healthier eating habits, more job satisfaction, and fewer headaches.
Gratitude takes you out of yourself. And it’s when we’re so knotted up in our inner worlds that we start hovering around the lower emotions, and our lives become chaotic. It quite literally dims the lights in the sections of the brain responsible for hyper-vigilance and self-obsession!
How to cultivate gratitude
Gratitude is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes.
- Why not start every day with the intention to be grateful? Think about what you appreciate, take a few moments to consider what you’re grateful for.
- Pay attention all the time, all day. Whether you’re having a cup of coffee, or someone at work makes you smile – notice and be grateful.
- Expand yourself – don’t get stuck with being grateful for things. Be grateful for people and situations.
- Keep a journal. Write down what makes you thankful. Focus, pause reflect. Then reinforce and do it all again!
- Be expressive! Don’t keep the gratitude for yourself. The more you share, the more power you have and the more you give!
Things to be grateful for
It’s often difficult to step out of ourselves into the world and be grateful. So, here are a few things to look out for. It is worthwhile being grateful for each of them
- Your health
It might not be great, but it could probably be worse. If you have working parts, you have something to be grateful for.
- Your finances
You may not be challenging Jeff Bezos any time soon, but what you have is yours!
If there are people around who care, they’re worth more than Bezos anyway!
- You can believe what you want
Being able to believe and follow any religion you want, is a blessing.
- Your folks
If you still have them, that’s a blessing. Even if they’re completely dysfunctional.
- The end of the week
And approaching Friday is like Christmas for a child!
- Being in love and having someone
If you’re involved with someone, you’re learning about people and the world every day
- Your dog, cat, canary, or goldfish
Unconditional love personified!
- The ability to learn – especially from mistakes
Imagine never making a mistake. BORING!
- An education
It doesn’t matter what level – just the fact that you can read counts
- The roof over your head
Wherever it is, and whatever it is!
- You can read this article – and the next one
That’s an amazing gift. Without it, your world wouldn’t be the same
- The air you breathe
Don’t take it for granted!
- Sleeping in a bed
Next time you’re exhausted and fall down on your bed, think about this one
- The funny
Imagine a world without laughter.
- Being secure and safe
Waking up without fearing for your life? Now that’s something…
Imagine living without!
- The sun
Not only for the light and the warmth but also for the photosynthesis in the plants
- Father time
We always seem to run out of it. But NEVER take it for granted. You don’t know how much of it you have…
- Drinkable water
That’s a commodity many people around the world lack.
- Mobile phones
Makes grabbing a few minutes to talk to someone you love easy!
- Love and love and love
How bitter and dark would the world be without a bit of love-light!
- A library of books
The quickest way to travel into the mind of another person, or to another planet.
- The surprising kindness of complete strangers
What a lovely surprise every time it happens. Sort of restores your faith in humanity!
- Flickering, crackling campfires
The atmosphere created by the simplicity of a long-ago time
- Emotional pain
Without it, we wouldn’t know joy!
- Magnificent art
It’s a beautiful record of humanity’s exploits
- The HOLIDAYS!
A great reason to be together and to celebrate loving one another
- Say what you want
Not everybody in the world has the freedom to say and think what they want.
A rainbow on a rainy day
Is there anything more beautiful? Pot of gold or not!
Tears will say what we mean when words fail
- A new day
Waking up was your first blessing of the day
Imagine having to walk across the backyard to the outhouse …
- Age and wisdom
Youth is wasted on the young …
- The mountains and streams
The serenity and peace of mountains and mountain streams are unmatched
Just being able to observe the beauty around you with your eyes
- The 711 down the road
Otherwise, you’d have to forage for your food!
- The setting sun
A color palette unlike any other
- Being entertained
When we’re entertained, we relax and learn at the same time
- The ability to think
A functional brain is at the center of your life experience
Even if it’s not great, just having one gives value to your day
- The planet’s amazing diversity
Imagine, just for a second, if everything was the same!
The heavenly bodies
The moon, the stars, the planets. Look up at the night sky and see how BIG everything is!
- Electric lights
There was a time, not so long ago …
- Cool air inside
In hot climates, air-conditioning has to be one of the best inventions!
The ability to hear
Imagine never hearing Mozart, or Jimi Hendrix, or the voice of a child, or the sound of your loved one.
Hear them laugh watch them grow, and see them play. Drops mike.
Every little thing you learn is meaningful
It doesn’t matter what – if people are prepared to share their skills and knowledge, they’re heroes!
- The sea
The last intra-planetary mystery
Imagine getting sick and not having it … Or breaking an arm. Or toothache.
- Music is the food of love
Imagine not being able to hear the language of the human soul
- The economy
People with an entrepreneurial spirit made the world what it is today!
- Heat and warmth
Think about next time it’s cold out
- The vote
Again, not everybody has that. You have a say. Cherish it!
- The Internet
Hard to believe there was a time we managed without it!
- Life’s challenges
This is at the core of our sense of adventure as human beings!
- Legs to walk with
Mobility is everything – imagine not having it!
Especially now with Covid
- The armed forces
The mere fact that we can feel safe while others put their lives on the line to protect us, is something to be deeply grateful for.
A life well lived
If you’re wondering what gratitude can do in your life, you should have a look at the life story of Heather Mathews.
Heather had what many would consider to be a perfect life. She owned her own house, she had a wide circle of really interesting friends, and she ran two very successful businesses.
But somewhere deep inside Heather knew something was missing. She was not seeing her life’s real purpose.
So, she started reflecting, and reading, and then reflecting some more.
Just this act of doing something about that hollow feeling, instead of just letting it be and being satisfied with second best, turned Heather’s life into an ongoing adventure.
She is now completely fulfilled and spends her days helping others become the best they can possibly be.
It was all about taking the first step. Being grateful for what she had, and using it to become the best she could possibly be.
Her story is both inspirational and a wonderful source to learn from.
You can pop over to the link below to find out more about the story of Heather Mathews.