Your heart is beating, there is breath in your lungs, and your mind is interpreting these words as you read along. And it’s 2018 which means you have made it to another trip around the sun. What a blessing! It is no secret that we so often overlook the simple gifts that surround us on a daily basis. The idea of being grateful is so simple, yet when applied, can be life transforming.
Let’s take a look at the attitude of Gratitude and explore some of its effects on the human mind and body.
It is common to believe that in order for one to be grateful, he or she must first be happy. OK, so where is happiness found? Well, nowadays, the world tells us that happiness is found in materials and accomplishment. Unfortunately, we are conditioned to believe this idea to be true. These are dangerous and unhealthy perspectives to walk through life with, and the earlier we can identify and eradicate them, the better off we will be. With the limiting beliefs mentioned above, one is almost forced to believe that he or she cannot be grateful until materials are obtained or until positions are reached. However, countless research and studies tell us otherwise. According to ScienceDirect, an online science journal, research shows that those who focus on material things are lower in well-being for the reason of a lack of gratitude. Most of us have had it backwards this whole time. This study not only tells us that well-being is not found in materials, but it also reveals that a lack of gratitude is the result of seeking well-being through materials in the first place. In other words, happiness does not give us the ability to be grateful, but instead, it is gratitude that produces well-being and feelings of happiness. Materialistic folks might have all of the outer “stuff” but they are missing the inner stuff. The idea that gratitude comes from happiness is a silly notion at best, and the thought of happiness being material-based is equally absurd. Our circumstances do not have to dictate our level of thankfulness.
The truth is that in any given moment, we can just be grateful!
Now that we understand gratitude more as a personal choice, we can more clearly view it as a posture in which we can walk. We each now have the responsibility to seek and find what that looks like for us. It is on us now. It is time to get practical. Maybe it looks like waking up and writing down what we are grateful for. According to Greater Good: Science-Based Insights for a Meaningful Life, studies have traced a range of benefits to the simple act of keeping a gratitude journal. These benefits include better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness among adults and children. Such a simple act yielding these great results is a testimony to the power in gratitude. Maybe it is through prayer. Maybe it looks like setting aside some time each day to close our eyes and focus our minds on the things we are thankful for. There is no right or wrong way to fix our awareness on what we are grateful for. But we cannot fake being or feeling grateful. The very nature of gratitude is authentic.
In conclusion, gratitude is not just some feeling we should be reminded of, but a lifestyle we should strive for. Gratitude allows us to shift from a mind full or worry to a heart full of thanks.
Living a life grounded in thankfulness is a recipe for peace and contentment. In a world
where happiness is believed to be found in money, titles, and materials, I will gladly go on record to say that true joy can be experienced as a direct result of consistent focus on being grateful for life itself. The fact that we are alive and get to participate in the human existence is humbling to say the least. The ability to feel feelings and spend moments together is nothing short of a miracle. Each breath we take is a gift. Let’s set aside our pride and be honest, we all have so much to be grateful for.