Meaningful Ways to Find Gratitude
We all have a different outlook on life and a different view on what life sometimes throws at us, and what situations we find ourselves in. There are those of us who perceive the world through a glass half full. And then there are those of us who see the glass as half empty. However, no matter whether you veer more on the more optimistic side, or if you come down more heavily on the side of pessimism, none of it matters unless you are the sort of person that feels gratitude in your life.
It doesn’t seem to matter how much money or assets you have, or even how loved you are. That doesn’t seem to make much of a difference surprisingly, as most of us are not naturally grateful people. But that does not make us bad people, not at all, it just means that our worldview is different to others and we sometimes tend to suffer more than we need to. We suffer more because of our outlook on life, which tends to be influenced by our emotions – mostly negative emotions. For example; emotions of anger; jealousy; fear; as well as loss and grief. In other words, much of how we suffer can be our own doing in some way and can be influenced by our personal perception of life.
We’ve all experienced gratitude
We’re grateful if something goes our way, something we’ve been wanting and hoping for. We’re grateful for the help people give us so that we can achieve what we want in life. We’re grateful if we avoid a near-miss incident. There is however a difference between experiencing gratitude, and being a grateful person.
Research suggests that gratitude can help to counteract the effects of our negativity. Gratitude can help us see the world in a more positive light, which in turn improves our relationships all round.
How often do you feel gratitude?
Have you made the practice of gratitude part of your daily routine yet? Some time ago I tried to put into place a new routine of stating 5 reasons to feel grateful for each day. Even though I went through the motions, I found it difficult to connect with the feelings and was inclined to record what I should be grateful for, rather than what I actually felt grateful for.
Sometimes we find it easier to think of situations where we aren’t happy about something, rather than remembering the moments when we did feel good. What is that about? Perhaps we find it easier to fall into the trap of negative bias and dwell on that approach rather than experiencing life with a more positive outlook. It could be down to habit, what you have got used to doing and how it becomes automatic to you.
The link between gratitude and happiness
One tip I suggest is to take the time to think of reasons to be grateful, and try to remember the moments when you felt joyful, and happy, and then link these moments back to what made them feel good. What the actual experience was. And the more often you acknowledge and notice when you feel grateful, the happier you’ll feel. You may even begin to start to look for these moments of happiness during the day, and making a mental note to yourself, for recording your gratitude practice.
The difference between a grateful or an ungrateful person isn’t always about your life history, your attitude, or how kind you are. It’s about becoming more aware of the differences. And this is something we can all develop more of; awareness is a skill that can be improved through regular habit. Like anything else you do, you can train your ability to be grateful through regular practice.
Next week we will look at some amazing tips to help you to develop your gratitude practice. Read more of my Monday Motivation blogs HERE.