Gratitude is a Powerful Catalyst for Happiness
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” – Amy Collette, Author and Best Seller
Amy Collette said it correctly in her gratitude quote, a grateful heart can bring happiness, uplift our soul and if I may add, transform lives. This is not a New Age concept; it is scientifically proven!
We don’t need to wait until Thanksgiving to reflect on what we are grateful for or lament about where we have gone wrong, we should make this a daily practice and be mindful of the blessings that are all around us. Recollect the great experiences you’ve been through, all the love that you’ve received, and the happy moments spent with family and friends.
There is much to be thankful for if we choose to magnify the good that has occurred. It is with this gratitude that we can see more positivity in our lives, and it is with this attitude of gratitude that we’ll experience greater happiness.
Research has shown that gratitude is linked to a myriad of benefits. With a grateful heart, people can develop positive emotions, better health, and higher tenacity to handle challenges.
The Benefits of Gratitude
Gratitude is all about being gracious to self and others. It also refers to the appreciation for life, and both the tangibles and intangibles that have made us who we are in the current moment. Gratitude is an invisible force that motivates us to plough through life with more confidence, love, and empathy.
Countless studies have been conducted by leading scientific experts on gratitude and they have proven the positive effect of gratitude for improving relationships, mental health and even physical health. In these studies, those who practise gratitude regularly are noted to experience stronger immune systems, decrease in aches and pains, higher levels of happiness, and increase in compassion, which often leads to improvement of social relations.
6 Ways to Practise Gratitude
The first step to gratitude is the appreciation of self. You may wonder why this is even a subject of discussion, doesn’t everyone appreciate themselves?
The answer is no.
According to research, many people developed hatred towards themselves because of negative early life experiences when they were growing up. This eventually shaped the way they see themselves. If these folks are not self-aware, they may even end up making detrimental choices in their lives.
The key to self-gratitude is to be conscious of our values and develop a healthy self-image that we can appreciate.
Learn to toot your own horn, be willing to celebrate your accomplishments and reward yourself every now and then.
When we practise self-gratitude, we are extending gratitude to our life and everything that extends from it. When we can see our world with such grace, many things will start to look more optimistic and empowering.
Self-gratitude doesn’t have to be loud or expensive, it is a private practice to remind us that we are doing a great job and to keep going. Some people find it especially effective to take a few minutes each day to reflect on what they are grateful for; such regular practice can even cultivate better self-esteem and motivation.
Find Gratitude Amid Challenges
The ability to maintain a grateful heart amid adversities is a transformative experience that can pull one out of the rut and overcome challenges with strength and positive self-worth.
It is easy to have an attitude of gratitude when life is well and good, however, being able to maintain a grateful and positive mindset can truly shape one’s character. No amount of blaming and complaining can change the bad that has already happened, however when we are in a peaceful and receptive state, we can always see the bigger picture and find solutions for any challenges.
Are you going through a tough time? Try to take a distance and look at the situation from an objective point of view. It is at this stage that you can appreciate what you have gone through and draw lessons from there.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Writing down your positive thoughts can reiterate your appreciation for life and serve as a reminder for the great moments of life. The more we can count our blessings, the more they will multiply. It is like the law of attraction – what you keep writing or thinking about will usually show up more often in your life. It is not that anything external has changed, but rather you’re more open to seeing the possibilities and positivities.
When updating the gratitude journal, record all the things you are thankful for and focus your attention on the subject. When you are penning your gratitude, you are also fully submerged in the good vibrations that will eventually uplift your emotion and well-being.
Expressing Gratitude To Others
When we extend gratitude to others, it has the effect of bridging gaps between people and warming hearts through sincerity. A simple act of saying “Thank you” is the fastest way of expressing how thankful we are.
Say what you mean, mean what you say, when expressing these words of appreciation, say them with sincerity because people can always tell the difference between a patronising statement and heartfelt gratitude.
Showing love to our near and dear ones can be a daunting task but expressing our appreciation doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Treating our family to a meal or getting up slightly earlier in the morning to make our spouse a cup of coffee can be so heart-warming too.
At work, nothing beats a thank you card or a verbalised appreciation to your colleague for the support that they have rendered. It is through such sincere acts that we will open the channel for more gratitude to flow between people.
Paying It Forward with Gratitude
We can touch lives if we choose to extend our gratitude by showing kindness and empathy to others. This can be as simple as volunteering to pick up the laundry from the dry cleaners for your family or taking the trash out at the end of the day. At work, thoughtful acts like offering a heartfelt compliment to our co-workers or holding the door open for a colleague can be such easy but impactful ways of making someone’s day.
During this Coronavirus pandemic, we have seen so many people paying it forward through volunteer work, helping at crisis centres and preparing meals for those who are under quarantine. When we band together for a good cause, we can build a better and stronger community.
Living Life Through the Lens of Gratitude
When we can grasp the meaning behind the attitude of gratitude, even the smallest act from that appreciative state can quickly turn into the most generous goodwill for another. Like what William Arthur Ward said, ‘Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.’
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