To Be Grateful is To Be Happy
Often times when we find ourselves resentful or furious with our own lives, we’ve lost a sense of gratitude. I am guilty of losing sight of what I have, in place of yearning for something I don’t have. Now, it’s at this point I want to make it clear that this is not about giving up on something you dream of, or goal setting, but is instead a practice I use as a way to accept the things that are in the present and to remind myself that now is enough. It takes small steps to make progress at times, and as impatient as I can be, this is a helpful tool to bring me back to the present and remember the strides I have made toward my goals and being where I want to be.
Sometimes we can distract by what it is we WANT to achieve, and ignore what it is we HAVE already achieved. This can bring on feelings of inadequacy and drag you down into a black hole of “what-if” and “I wish I were ______ instead of me” or even “I have nothing.” This, when going unchecked, can turn into a pattern of negative thinking. Sure, we could just turn a negative into a positive, but often times one positive isn’t enough to turn the tide.
Which is why I hunted for new ways to try and find techniques that were useful in turning a big negative into a lot of small positives or even one big positive.
Some people with some far more qualified degrees than I have, have done lots of research on the topic of health benefits of gratitude. What it boils down to is this: negativity is not good for our mental or physical well-being of people, and attitudes of gratitude were shown to improve both of those things as well as strengthening relationships.
Gratitude lists are what I most often use when I am frustrated, or have some time to myself. Like when I’m putting on my make-up in the morning. I have the time to name a few things and also think about why I’m grateful for them. Whether it’s Sebastian who is there for me without fail, Amelia who cuddles with me and makes our home brighter, or the fact that I have a home. All of these and more are what I try to remind myself of daily and it has helped me tremendously, becoming a significant addition to my self-care regimen.
I tried this out for a week just one week while I was brushing my teeth, I tried to name as many things as I could that I was grateful for. Not only did I notice the difference in my attitude, but so did the people around me, family, friends, and coworkers were able to tell I was regularly in a significantly improved mood. Our challenge to you would be: start small, try the teeth brushing exercise for one week and then if you’re up for even bigger grateful challenges come back in a week and we’ll have up another post with some other useful ways to practice gratefulness.
Until next time, take care of yourselves!
Kat & Amelia