We all experience bad days, even the rich and famous. But no matter what we are going through at any given moment, our happiness is dependant on being grateful for the things we have, rather than disappointed by the things we don’t. Many of us tend to take for granted the opportunity that is already present, instead we choose to focus our energy on our difficulties and worries (that often never materialise). Gratitude is a mindset we must embrace to shift our focus from what our life lacks, to an awareness of the abundance that is already present.
Research shows that we are programmed to remember negative events more easily than positive ones and we feel negative emotions more strongly than positives ones. In order to counteract this negativity bias, we must consciously seek out and bring our awareness to the positive aspects of our lives and daily experiences.
I don’t have much money, a car, children and many other things that one day would be meaningful to me, but I do have an amazing family, great friends, good health and, just like everyone else, the opportunity to be creative with what i’ve got and where I am. That alone is enough to drive me everyday, aware of the possibilities around me, energised by the present moment.
It is a common belief that it is possessions that determine our happiness. The truth is, it’s exclusively our thoughts, what you think directly affects how you feel both emotionally and physically, if you increase your positive thoughts, you can increase your sense of well-being. So many people in the world today are filled with toxic thoughts and negative language which create negative cycles in our lives. Being grateful changes the processing of your thoughts and seasons your words, in doing so we open up the possibility of becoming a better version of ourselves.
With all the opportunity existing in today’s world, we struggle to connect with our hearts and appreciate what we have and what we can do. Our egos demand more, a nicer car and a bigger house, yet a deep fulfilling happiness doesn’t come from having more stuff, it comes from having more gratitude.
A gratuitous soul tends to be more creative, have stronger social relationships and cope better with adversity. When things get tough they ask themselves what can they learn from the situation and how it can be of benefit to them in the future. Gratitude doesn’t mean that everything is always great, it simply means maintaining an awareness of all the good and opportunity in our lives even when the environment around us appears difficult.
Constantly reminding ourselves and showing gratitude for the things we have in our lives is a great way to take charge of our emotions. Don’t be controlled by outside circumstances, your thoughts determine how you want to feel at any given time, so be thankful and be aware of what you have. Life is not about what happens to you but about how you perceive it, it’s up to you to process what type of day you have today.
In simply being alive on this planet, we are unbelievably blessed in so many ways, regardless of the hardships we may face. Think about the very fact that we are here, staring at this screen, this is a miracle in itself. By no choice of our own, we were born in an unique period that has witnessed huge technological advances, providing unprecedented opportunity to flourish through our own creative means. Yet even the most gratuitous of us struggle to regularly remind ourselves of the gift of life presented to us.
We have all been given a beautiful gift in being here today. What we do with it and how we feel about it is up to us. Remind yourself of what you have the next time you are getting stressed because of bad traffic or over a bad night’s sleep. The reality is, if you live in a home with water, food and a family then you have an opportunity in this world. Sure there will be times when things don’t go your way, but all it takes is a different perspective to be thankful for your life and to see the gift given to all of us.
Without gratitude we risk living an unenchanted life, choosing instead to play a game we will never win by constantly chasing the next bigger and better thing and never stopping to appreciate what we have. I can make a million pounds, have a big house and drive a fancy car, but if I don’t appreciate it, it’s all meaningless. This is a mindset that must be adjusted if we want to live a fulfilling life and enjoy the present moment.
So gratitude is one of the most important elements for success, it’s the key to experiencing life at its best. If we change the quality of our thinking we can say yes to life and change the quality of our experiences and relationships. When we adopt an attitude of gratitude we see life as an opportunity presented which we owe ourselves to maximise, we are not just living life for the sake of it, we are rich with context for the gift we have been given. Practice counting your blessings on a regular basis, what are you grateful for today?