GRATITUDE – is the quality of being thankful and appreciating everything we have in life. It is to be kind, selfless and humble and not treat it like a debt which must be returned. It is being just plain thankful for what is and what will be without any expectations.
It takes a ‘Nano-Second’ for us to crib and feel disappointed about unexpected situations and results. How swiftly we forget all the blessings we have in life and immediately focus on what we don’t have. We always find something to complain about and if there is nothing to complain about we complain about that too. Being grateful is not just a behavioral trait but it also has a paramount influence on every area of your life be it your relationships, career, the people you attract and your health. A healthy mind state makes your bodily functions run smoother and more effectively.
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Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology. And he says that “The practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,”
“It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep. Gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders, and is a key resiliency factor in the prevention of suicide.” “Gratitude blocks toxic emotions, such as envy, resentment, regret and depression, which can destroy our happiness.” Emmons said.
Just a pinch of gratitude every day in your life makes such a considerable difference. I have tried and tested it. It filters out so much negativity from your life. I was a pessimistic person a long time ago and would always focus on what I don’t have. After being discontent for a long time I realized I need to make a change in my attitude. It wasn’t easy. I started to act like I am grateful for all the things we take most granted for in our lives like the home we live in, our family, friends and a healthy body. My mind would say – “What’s the big deal about these things? But you don’t have a swanky car or the perfect partner or a big house” and the list never ended. I still continued to say it aloud even though my heart wasn’t in it completely. Slowly and steadily I started genuinely feeling it. Fake it till you make it. Our mind is a beautiful little miracle. It will give out what you put in. It has infinite potential and we don’t even know it yet.
Once I hurt my toe and I was so inconvenienced throughout the injury. That’s when I realized how every little thing has its own importance. Unless and until we have to live without it, we don’t remember to take good care of it. Who thinks of taking care of a ‘Toe’ right? Being grateful for everything that you have is your way of showing the universe that you value it. Believe it or not, the Universe reciprocates – and you get back tenfold.
There was a study conducted by two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis to test all the cliché theories we keep hearing about how gratitude brings about positive changes in one’s life. The study split people into 2 groups. One group was instructed to note all the unpleasant aspects of their life that they were unhappy about and the other group was instructed to write a daily list of things they were grateful for. Results showed that people who focussed on the positive aspects of life reported higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, energy, lower levels of stress and depression.
I believe that there are 2 kinds of people. People who never give up and people who don’t even begin to try. I met a lot of new people lately in the US and few of them had very serious health conditions. I met a lady who had a tumor in her ears and had undergone 6 surgeries and still has not regained complete hearing ability. Yet, she seemed so happy and had a great zest for life. She was grateful she had the resources, support and fight left in her to deal with these tough times. She was so motivated by her own illness and recovery that she now serves as a Caregiver for elderly people. I love how she took the worst out of her situation and turned it into something so meaningful and beautiful. Similarly, I met another gentleman who had prostate cancer and had lost all hope. He was bitter and had no will to fight. He wasn’t even willing to undergo surgery because he felt it was useless. These exchanges had a great impact on me and made me look at my life with a different perspective.
Our attitude makes a huge difference and one hundred percent brings out different results. The attitude of gratitude is something we should all imbibe in our lives, in our hearts, in our homes and everywhere possible. The world will be a better place because grateful people are happy and happy people make our world worth living in and fighting for.
Gratitude improves mental wellbeing, physical health, attracts more quality people in life, you will sleep better as it brings down stress levels, makes you a more positive and strong willed person and you will automatically see things working for you and even if they don’t you will handle it like a pro. Complaining erases good fortune, cribbing makes you look ugly no matter how beautiful you are on the outside, your negativity drives people away and it doesn’t change your situation even a wee bit.
Be thankful for all that you have, hug and appreciate people you love and make tiny amendments to your attitude which will eventually make a huge difference. It is easier said than done but don’t take things for granted. If you must – make a fresh start every time you slacken.
Maybe you can maintain a gratitude journal and write down all the things you feel grateful for, even if it is the tiniest thing. I bet when you look at that journal a few months later – you will be surprised you have so much to be thankful for and how fortunate you are than so many others. We will always be running behind the next thing but it is very important to value what we do have already. When we take care of the smaller things in life – we are opening up our future to amazing possibilities in store for us and are better equipped to nurture them and make the most out of it.
I would like to thank every single one of you who visited/visits my blog and spends few valuable minutes of your busy lives reading it. I couldn’t be more grateful!