Amidst the chaos of daily struggles, surrounding controversies, and the ill effects of the pandemic that affected many peoples’ lives, happiness can become so elusive and sometimes feel impossible to find.
And amidst all the negativity happening around you, it is less likely that you could still convince yourself to be happy when there’s barely any reason at all. But the good news is, being happy need not be influenced by the circumstances around you. Rather a choice of activity that will help you count your blessings, be thankful, be happy, and always have an attitude of gratitude.
The Practice of Gratitude
Gratitude is a Latin word “gratia,” which means grace, gratefulness, or graciousness. According to a study, people who consciously practice gratitude tend to be happier and less depressed, which means that gratitude is the appreciation of everything that comes your way. And it further means that when you are grateful, you are certainly pleased with the things you have or events happening in your life.
But what if you are on the other side of the situation? Can you still practice gratitude? And what if you are functioning otherwise? Can a gratitude practice be beneficial, or can you still appreciate your life? And if so, how will you do it? Undoubtedly, you can not be thankful when you lack the feeling of gratefulness. However, you can always be grateful by acknowledging what to be grateful for.
In a study conducted by Taylor and Francis, random participants who wanted to receive mental counseling were instructed to write one letter of gratitude to the person they would like to express their appreciation with. And findings showed that despite their mental struggle, these people significantly improved their mental health after four weeks of gratitude and after twelve weeks after that when their gratitude writing journey ended.
Thus, it only means that even in the most unfortunate situation in life, you can put things in place when you practice the attitude of gratitude.
5 Ways Gratitude Benefits Your Life
Gratitude has many benefits, and here are 5 ways being grateful can benefit you in a more profound sense of life.
1. Dismisses Negative Emotions
Mental health and emotions are directly connected. Gratitude will significantly improve mental health; it ultimately shifts the attention away from harmful and toxic emotions.
2. Improves Self-esteem
The Journal of Sport Psychology says that a higher level of gratitude showed increased self-esteem among people in practice. Accordingly, the study says that being thankful helps a person feel better about himself and appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
3. Reduces Stress
Gratefulness helps regulate emotion, which is an integral part of managing stress. So next time, when you feel stressed, take a moment to close your eyes and work to appreciate all the things you are grateful for, and even include those things that unlikely deserve your appreciation. It may not be easy, but surely, it will help you calm and put you into the proper perspective of things.
4. Manifests Even When You Do Not Share It
Even when you don’t personally communicate to the person you are grateful for, your attitude will manifest because the mere act of appreciation and gratefulness will help you focus on the positive perspective. Thus, people around you will ultimately feel it.
5. Increases Happiness
Gratitude can significantly reduced negative emotions, like regrets, resentment, and envy. And indeed, it reduces the feeling of depression, increasing your happiness in the process.
Happiness and Gratitude
In different concepts, happiness is a never-ending pursuit of humanity. People have always wanted to live a meaningful life to be positive and be happy regardless of the situation. In Positive Psychology, happiness means experiencing positive emotions with less negativity. And this means that happiness is related to satisfaction, moments of pleasure, and life appreciation or the attitude of gratitude.
Happiness and gratitude are always strongly associated. These are more than a gesture and a state of mind because it is also an emotional state of being. Wanting to be happy has no short-cuts and no tricks, but it is a choice to make wherein the decision is coming from within the depths of your soul. And your decision of happiness is dictated by your attitude of gratitude. And so, beyond thank you, how can you express gratitude to start being happy?
Ways To Express Gratitude
According to Chesterton, thanks is the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. Expressing gratitude significantly depends on the context of your act; thank you can be enough for some but not for others. And so beyond thank you, there are many other ways to express gratitude, like:
1. Start a gratitude practice – cultivate an attitude of gratitude and appreciate small things or small wins in life. You can start by writing down a few things you are grateful for every day. Do this consistently, and you will finally develop an attitude of gratitude.
But being consistent may be a challenge to some, likewise, sustaining the practice is equally hard for others. So, in this case, you need to get help from somebody you trust or a professional life coach to guide you. A life coach can be the best source of support to make you prosper into a consistent practice towards your journey of gratitude.
2. Anchor it to an existing habit – connect your gratitude journey to current activity like introducing your gratitude practice to your meditation practice. Or you may want to anchor your gratitude list to your existing journaling habit. So that if you can stack on it together, you will find it easier to maintain and a higher chance to succeed.
3. Be gracious of the past – think of people, events, or circumstances that bring positive memories with a significant impact, and be grateful that you had it once upon a time in your life.
4. Be thankful for the present – whatever you have at present deserves to be thanked. Take time to enjoy the gifts regardless of circumstances, be grateful still because it means you still have things you need at the moment.
5. Always look forward to being grateful for what’s to come – imagine what you would like your future to become and be thankful for the desired outcome. Doing this would help you manifest things and allow you to look forward to the future with great anticipation. It may be challenging to be grateful for the future, but you can do this with the help of these tips:
- Think about an exciting event with great anticipation. An event that would positively impact your life would greatly help you be mindful of gratitude.
- Get involved in meaningful activities that will lead you to fulfill your desires. You can already anticipate the outcome and start being grateful by doing this.
- Envision your ideal life – envisioning your perfect life is like living the life that you want to have in the future. This would train your mind to create your future at present. And that would be a perfect reason to be grateful for.
So if you want to welcome happiness in your life and live with it, always practice an attitude of gratitude. Make it a lifestyle you should start not any other time but now.