A major key to success?
Practicing gratitude is an important aspect of overall happiness and well being. Focusing on what you have and truly appreciating it allows you to have a better outlook on life. Gratitude will shift your perspective, help transform your attitude, and just may make you a better person.
It is easy and natural, for most, to express gratitude when life is good. If someone gives us a gift we naturally say thank you and for the most part, truly feel appreciative. When you get a raise at work or maybe win a prize, you are excited, happy, and thankful. It is much more challenging to be thankful when life gets hard. A loved one is sick, you lose your job, or your life gets turned upside down in some other way. Gratitude takes practice and conscious effort everyday. It is a choice that you have to make.
Gratitude gives you power. You can’t always control your circumstances. But you can control how you react to them.
“Life is 10% of what happens to you, 90% of how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll
There is always something for which to be thankful.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” -Melanie Beattie
There are many ways to express gratitude for the people who are in your life and for the things that you have.
Here are a few of my personal favorites.
Each night, before I fall asleep, I express appreciation for the day. Then, I think of all the people and the things I was particularly thankful for that day.
I have a hummingbird feeder outside of a window in my dinning room. I love watching the hummingbirds. Every time one comes to the feeder, I pause what I am doing, if only for a second, and mentally express my gratitude for that incredible bird visiting me.
Practicing yoga has taught me many things, on and off the mat. It has really helped me connect to the present moment, accept what is at that time, and express gratitude for simply being here.
I love going outside. Connecting with nature is a great way to cultivate gratitude. Look up at the sky. Look at the clouds. Work in your garden. Go explore a local park. Go to the beach and stare out at the water. Go outside at night and look up at the stars in the sky. There is nothing more humbling than to look up at a night sky full of stars, and think about how small you are in comparison to the universe. That activity inspires a lot of deep thoughts.
When life becomes challenging, I try to take a step back, pause, and actively seek out things for which to be thankful. Even something as small as just having a cup of coffee or the sun shining out my window. It’s amazing how that changes my attitude. Once I’ve gained a little perspective, it is much easier to be grateful for the learning opportunity that the challenge has presented me.
“What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.”
― J. Sidlow Baxter
Gratitude fits right in with mindfulness. When I was in college, one my psychology professors emphasized the importance of cognitive theory and said something that stuck with me – feelings follow thoughts. This simple idea sparked a fire within me and inspired me to continue learning about the power of thought.
Feelings follow thoughts.
When you practice gratitude, you change your mindset. You shift your focus to the good in your life. Your attitude changes and you begin to feel happier. It’s a ripple effect.
A major key to success? to happiness?
Open your eyes. Look around you. Focus on what you have. Give thanks.