I've recently been reading a lot of books on positive thinking and having the right mind set. Something that keeps coming to my consciousness during each of my reads is the power of being appreciative and cultivating an attitude of gratitude. If you just give a little more attention to the way you view your environment, it can just help you in so many ways. So I thought I would share some thoughts on the benefits of cultivating an attitude of gratitude and why it is really vital for long-term happiness.
Practicing an attitude of gratitude allows you to realize something very important: that you can be happy right now, with what you have. So many times we think we have to postpone our happiness. 'I'll be happy when..', 'I'm just waiting for....and then I'll be satisfied'. When you make the effort to see how privileged you are in your current life, you realize that you don't need some future event to achieve your desire of being happy. This is a wonderful feeling because it gives you motivation to be an optimist and feel fulfilled even while you're on the path to achieving goals.
You do not need to keep running after people or aspirations to have that feeling of contentment and inner peace. When you pay closer attention, you can discover that everything you need is already right in front of you.
It is so easy to let negative thoughts creep up on you. The world we live in is filled with things that could make us feel not good enough or discouraged. And let's be honest- sometimes it is really hard to chase these negative feelings away. One thought can lead to another and as we've heard before, it all leads to that 'downward spiral'.
I believe that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is a wise way to counteract such negative feelings. Whenever your mind tells you to be sad and sorry, push such negative thoughts away by reminding yourself of all the wonderful reasons you have to be happy. When you feel like you are helpless and a particular challenge makes you feel paralyzed, you should ponder on all the times you have come out of difficult situations. When doubt and negative feelings crop up, I like to tell myself: "Why get anxious and feel negative? The difficulties you have already come out of are ample reasons to be confident, to know that the future can and will be good".
The answer lies in the things you have but you often take for granted. Do you have a warm and loving family? That's a reason to be grateful. Do you have access to food and shelter that help sustain you each day? That's another reason to feel grateful. You've probably heard statistics and quotes about how fortunate you are to have the basic provisions that sustain your life.
For instance: Did you know that if you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer that 75% of the people on this planet?
If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change, you are among 8% of the world's wealthy.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you have more than the million people who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture or the horrible pangs of starvation, you are luckier than 500 million people who are alive & suffering.
The fact that you are simply able to read this means that you are more fortunate than the 3 billion people in the world who cannot read it at all.
You've probably at one point or another seen the above words on a poster somewhere. Every time I ponder on those words, I cannot help but think: This is not a joke. There are so many people around the world who would be so unbelievably grateful to experience even some of the snippets of your/my life that we may take for granted each day.
The fact that I am able to come home everyday and have a warm, cosy bed to sleep in, is something to be truly grateful for. The fact that I do not have to worry about where my next meal will come from is also a very good reason to swell up with appreciation. And the fact that some of us have these things and others do not, does not mean that we are better than them.
Everything we have to enjoy in life is a beautiful gift from God, and every moment we receive or enjoy something, we should spend some time giving thanks and being grateful for what we have.
There are some simple ways to promote gratefulness and direct all our appreciation into positive action.
To cultivate an attitude of gratitude let us all try something. Will you join me?
Things we can do to cultivate an attitude of gratitude:
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