How often do you pause to appreciate what you have?
For most of us the answer is not enough.
We tend to focus our attention on that which we lack, and it’s easy for day-to-day things to go by unnoticed.
But if people realized that gratitude was kind of like a super power, and responsible for unlocking happiness, they’d probably practice it a whole lot more.
When we focus on that for which we’re grateful, it makes us feel good because it widens our perspective. When we’re caught in stress or despair, we often develop tunnel vision and are only able to focus on the negative.
Gratitude helps us see the bright side of things amidst the challenges. It enables us to appreciate our circumstances and all that we have, rather than focusing on what we lack.
It’s really the ultimate antidote to unhappiness because when we’re experiencing wonder, thankfulness and appreciation, it’s almost impossible to feel bleak.
So the question is, how can we strengthen our experience of gratitude? We can’t manufacture emotions and for many of us finding gratitude is challenging. Not everyone’s a glass-half-full kind of person.
Luckily, gratitude is a habit that can be developed. By taking time to regularly focus on what’s good in our lives, the more gratitude grows and the easier it becomes.
Starting with gratitude for this very moment. The fact that you are here right now.
Appreciating the use of our senses, our eyes that let us view spectacular colors in the sky…
Our ears that let us hear the trickle of rain, music and the voices of our loved ones.
Our ability to touch, taste, smell… offering us a direct enjoyment of the world around us.
And finding appreciation for the people in our lives. Our family. Our partners. Friends – old and new. People who have offered us support and kindness. Children who bring us laughter.
Time and time again, research shows that those who have an attitude of gratitude are more alert, optimistic and happy.
How could they not be when gratitude blocks toxic and negative emotions and promotes the savoring of positive ones?
People who practice gratitude consistently feel more generous, compassionate, and connected to others.
Ultimately, gratitude is one of the great keys to unlocking happiness.
So as a way to begin building the habit of bringing gratitude into your life, tonight, just before bed, reflect on 5-10 things for which you’re grateful.
And when you recite the list in your mind, remember it’s not enough to just say the words… The point is to really tune into the feeling of appreciation for whatever you mention. That’s when you’ll experience the benefits.
That’s all you need to do to start and begin strengthening your propensity towards gratitude.