This year, I’ve become very interested in gratitude. Why? Because I firmly believe that positive thinking has a strong impact on our quality of life. And that the simple act of being grateful in life, makes us take the time to appreciate the positive things around us, which puts us in a better state of mind to find happiness. Today, I wanted to share with you some of the ways I’ve discovered to be grateful, and the benefits that have come from it!
First of all, I would like to clarify that for me, being grateful is not a way of burying my head in the sand and ignoring the negative things in my life. It’s more a way to slow down, take a step back and make a note of the positive elements to find balance, even in more difficult times. So taking the time to feel gratitude is a way to soothe myself, keep my heart open and bring me back to a more serene state of mind, no matter what I’m going through at the time.
And… It seems it’s not crazy! Scientific research has proven that being grateful leads to a more optimistic attitude and a more positive feeling about our lives. Simply being grateful allows us to focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have. And that’s kind of the key to happiness, right?
My Ways of Being Grateful
As I decided to try to be more grateful on a daily basis, I thought about the different ways I could do so. Here are a few.
Saying Thank You
This is a habit that I have developed over the years and that with time is becoming more and more natural. Saying thanks to my husband for picking up the kitchen. Not because he rarely does it, but because each time, I truly appreciate it. Saying thanks to Laurent’s nanny, not because she did something out of the ordinary, but rather because she dedicated her day and her good mood to my son so that I could enjoy a few hours on my own. Saying thanks to the kids for helping with chores, even though it’s normal and I expect them to do so. Saying thank you to a friend for taking the time to listen to me. Saying thanks to my coach for supporting me through another workout. Saying thank you, because often we feel gratitude, but it feels strange to say it out loud. And yet, taking the time to say it or write it makes the other person feel good and makes us feel good about ourselves, too! So, why not treat ourselves to a little more gratitude on a daily basis?
From time to time, I feel lost, anxious, impatient or sad. And in those moments, I tend to see the darker side of life, the obstacles, the problems, the frustrations. A gentle way out of these more difficult moments is to take stock of everything I feel grateful for. This can be done in a simple moment of quiet and reflection, or in writing, so I can read it over a few times until I find balance. To begin, I push myself to name or write down 3 things I am grateful for right now, despite how I feel. Then, I look for one more. And one more. By oiling the machine a bit this way, the ideas begin to flow, and I end up with a longer list. When I am satisfied with my list, I finish the exercise by taking the time to remember the physical feeling that gratefulness brings me. It’s like a little electric jolt in my belly, chest, and throat, a warm current with a tad of adrenaline. It feels good.
Not Taking Anything for Granted
Spontaneously, when I think of gratitude, I tend to think of it relating to people or actions. But it can be so much more than that! There are moments in life when, if we stop to look, smell, hear around us, we notice things that make us feel good. Like, the sun on our face after a few days of rain. Or the smell of rain we fill out lungs with. The sound of our steps as we walk in the snow. The feeling of being home. It may sound crazy, but taking note of our gratitude for these simple little things that life offers us is not insignificant. It helps us see the bright side of things and it adds positivity to our day! And in my opinion, that’s always a good thing.
What I get out of it
Besides the fact that I find that being grateful helps me to be a more positive person, I have also found that it has other benefits in my life, like
Gentleness leads to gentleness… Gratitude leads to gratitude. Expressing gratitude fosters stronger, truer, more gentle connections. And, in my experience, when you are comfortable pointing out the positive things and do it regularly, it’s much easier to bring up the not-so-easy things when they come up.
A Recalibration in Relation to Material Things
Although we can be grateful for things, most often we are grateful for people, feelings, nature or actions. And when we make time to take stock of what makes us feel grateful, it puts into perspective the importance of material things in our lives!
Less anxiety on a daily basis
Taking the time to be grateful forces us to step back, get into a calm state of mind and be more contemplative—which helps reduce anxiety and stress!
Because valuing gratitude in our lives encourages us to focus on what we have rather than what we lack or want, for me it’s a way to have more satisfaction (or less dissatisfaction, it’s always a question of perspective) in our daily lives!
Enjoy the present more
When you really think about it, when you are happy and serene, it is because you let yourself live in the moment. We can feel joy in thinking about the future or nostalgia about the past, but nothing is stronger than the present and for me, feeling gratitude brings me back to the present and allows me to enjoy it more.
Those are a few of my thoughts on gratitude. What are some things you are grateful for? Share them with our community by commenting on this post! And feel free to let me know if you found this article interesting or if you prefer other types of articles :).
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