There’s no doubt that our modern lives are hectic – between work, family, school, and all the other aspects of daily life, it can be overwhelming. One day you’re on your way to work, only to spill coffee on your pants and then get a flat tire – great, just how you wanted to start your day. Could things get any worse?
Many of us have gotten into a bad habit of focusing on the minor negative aspects of life, instead of opening our eyes to the beauty around us. Something as simple as a stunning sunrise, the perfect conditions to surf, or the fact that you have fresh drinking water.
Focusing on all those small positive aspects, is what’s called gratitude, my friend. This is more than an element of yoga or meditation, the fact that gratitude is beneficial to your wellbeing is evidence-based within science. Being a more positive person affects every aspect of your being — influencing psychological, emotional, physical, and even the social aspects of your life.
Practice Gratitude in Order to Find Inner Peace
As humans, we’re naturally curious beings. None of us know for sure what our true purpose is or what comes next, but what we do know, is that we have the ability to live in the moment and enjoy the life that we were given. Of course, we’re all unique and what ‘happiness’ means to you, will differ in terms of someone else’s opinion.
Over the years, literature has piled regarding the effects of gratitude. In terms of physical wellbeing, it’s been linked to a stronger immune system, higher pain thresholds, lower blood pressure, and more. Being a grateful person also allows you to experience the benefits of positive thinking, as these individuals are often more forgiving, outgoing, compassionate, and happier overall.
Things will happen in your life that aren’t ideal — you may lose your job, experience loss, and all the other challenges within this complex world we’ve built. The key is how you approach these situations. Not only do you need to be mindful of how you deal with negative events, but also how you respond to the positive aspects of life.
When you stop to acknowledge the simple things, you begin to feel more alive — you sleep better, you feel better, and you are generally able to adapt to changing situations. Don’t wait until you get that promotion or receive a break on your taxes — it’s the little events, achievements, and experiences that occur each and every day that you need to be thankful for.
How Can I Be More Grateful?
It can be challenging to change your mindset, especially if you’re prone to focus on negative aspects of your daily life. Acknowledging this, seeking positive changes is the very first critical step. If you would like to practice gratitude, here are a few suggestions to get you started. Once you get into the habit of being more grateful, it will come naturally.
- Notice the little things — As mentioned, the small moments in your life that you often take for granted, need to be acknowledged. Maybe you and your family sit down each night at the table, enjoying a meal you cooked together, while sharing stories. This in itself is a reason to be thankful. Open your eyes to the world around you, starting to absorb the positivity that surrounds you. Don’t be shy to live in the moment and savour those experiences — that’s what life is all about.
- Write it down — When you do have a positive experience, no matter how big or small, write it in a gratitude journal. This will allow you to express the emotions you experienced, helping you reflect. This can help you slowly change your perspective, allowing you to focus on aspects of your life you may have not noticed before. Others prefer a ‘gratitude board’ where they can post quotes, images, and memorable souvenirs.
- Help others experience gratitude — There’s nothing more rewarding than a meaningful thank-you or shared experience. If someone was influential in your life, whether it’s your sibling, parent, teacher, or a best friend, write them a letter of gratitude. Positivity is contagious. This is especially true for all you parents out there, as instilling gratitude into your children is one of the best gifts they can receive.
So the next time you see a beautiful bird, enjoy a glass of wine, or hug a loved one, remember that there’s much more to smile about than frown.