The Gratitude Files – The Importance of Being Grateful
Review this weeks featured book Choosing Easy World: A Guide to Opting Out of Struggle and Strife and Living in the Amazing Realm Where Everything is Easy, rated .
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” ~ Brian Tracey.
Gratitude is under-rated and under-utilised. Most of us focus on the things we want to achieve in life â€“ the things we have not yet achieved â€“ the things we do not yet have. We hanker after it, gripe about it, wish we had it, wonder when we will get it and scheme to achieve it. It is all well and good to have goals and to visual them and work towards them, but it is critically important to your happiness to take time to appreciate the things you do have and have already accomplished.
The benefits of gratitude
For the moment let’s forget about the “intention manifestation” principle – which states that you attract what you focus your interest on and that being appreciative of your successes will encourage more successes into your life â€“ being grateful has another more immediate function. (You can look out for an article on Intention Manifestation in the near future). Being grateful immediately increases your satisfaction with your life and allows you to feel happier, which in turn allows you to accomplish more.
Gratitude refocuses your priorities
Focusing on what you are grateful for also reminds you of your priorities and of what is fundamentally important to you. Often we get caught up worrying or focusing on little things that really are not important to us. Thinking about what we are grateful for allows us to refocus and re-centre ourselves on what is important to us.
Gratitude lets you enjoy the simple good
Gratitude allows you to enjoy the good in your life. Oftentimes we believe that only achieving the big goals â€“ getting the big promotion, winning the lottery, having the best party â€“ can make us happy. But focusing on being appreciative allows you to focus on the many small good things that occur in your day that you are grateful for â€“ such as being on time for the bus, getting your favourite drink in the vending machine, seeing a beautiful sky, sharing a laugh with your partner, seeing your kids healthy and happy and playing. These things make life very enjoyable and satisfying but often we take them for granted in our search for the big and flashy successes. Practicing gratitude allows us to appreciate our success and our happiness more.
Gratitude reduces envy and negative emotion
When you are busy appreciating and savouring all the good things already in your life, there is little time for hankering about what others have. Take a simple common example. Let’s you say you have a regular 20 inch TV, but you want one of those new fandangled, flat screen, plasma items to watch the big game on. Imagine that you keep thinking of how great it would be see the game on that big screen and how you wish you had it â€“ you will feel very dissatisfied with the TV you do have and envy all those who have the TV you wish you had.
Now imagine instead that you focus on appreciating the fact that you have a TV to watch the game on â€“ your own TV, in the comfort of your home where you can sit in your favourite chair and relax and enjoy your game-viewing experience. You will feel more satisfied and appreciate the TV you have rather than being unhappy wishing you had another TV. Being grateful helps reduce envy and resentment and promotes satisfaction and happiness.
Gratitude improves your physical well-being
Studies have shown that people who take a few minutes each day (for a week) to write down the things that they are thankful for sleep better, exercise more and feel less stressed than the control groups who do not engage in a daily gratitude exercise.
Gratitude improves your emotional well-being
Further experiments have shown that people who practice feeling grateful recover from traumatic events more quickly. They are less bothered by negative memories of the event and when those memories do surface they are less intense. Gratitude helps to make sense of negative events â€“ even the most negative events serve the purpose of making you stronger. Grateful people achieve closure and recover faster from negative events.
As you go through you day today, practice being aware of the many good things in life. Never mind if it feels corny, just do it. Simple things such as your good health, your family, your friends. Try to focus on those things and acknowledge to yourself how grateful you are to have them in your life.
In future articles we will discuss the enormous benefits of keeping a gratitude journal and writing a gratitude letter. I will outline in detail how to go about incorporating these activities into your daily lives.
“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.” ~ Eileen Caddy.
If you find this article useful and would like to support LieslNet please make a donation here. Every little bit helps.
- How to Stop Worrying and Be Relaxed â€“ An Experiment
- Slow down, stop rushing and enjoy your life
- How to become an Optimist – Part I
- How to be Happy – Training yourself to enjoy life
- The Power of Realistic Positive Thinking
- Your Capacity for Change
- Optimism vs. Pessimism
- Coping with Stress – Part I
Deals on Personal Development Books: Checkout the Lieslnet Personal Development Bookstore.