“Life is like a river. You can’t touch the same water twice because the flow that has passed will never pass again.” And, in this river-like life, time flies like the flow and is long passed till you acknowledge its value. We being humans, ignorant as we are, mostly forget to appreciate little things in life while there’s time and either complain or regret after its gone. Practicing gratitude can be an absolute game changer in our lives as it brings us closer to reality and the relatedness of everything in this world. Gratitude is that common key which unlocks uncountable doors to peace and well-being, both of our soul as well as our body, in numerous ways. It adds a little more essence to our lives by making us understand the importance of being grateful to what we have and appreciate life as it happens.
As the scientific studies and research affirms, the feeling and expression of Gratitude has limitless positive outcomes. Be it your personal relationships, work life, mental health or even your immune system, Gratitude has its reflection over everything and aids to make you feel more alive. We often feel weak and baffled by those tough complex situations in our lives when we fail to find a way out or at least feel like it. In phases like these, people who practice gratitude usually come up with the reminder that even in the gloomiest moments, there’s always a beam of light shining through the darkness to make you recognize the brighter parts of every situation. There’s always a good hidden in the bad and your choice to uncover it with an open heart and mind is what makes everything worthwhile. The must known fact about practicing gratitude is, you don’t have to reserve it for epochal moments but notice it in the littlest of wins like you managing to witness the sunrise, getting free from your work before-time, a little chit-chat with a stranger on a shared cab or merely a hot cup of tea, it all depends on your perspective. People who are grateful, are the ones who are more stress resistant and know the art of celebrating life by living in the present.
Here are 10 elementary steps to building your attitude of gratitude.
- Keep a gratitude journal ~ The most practiced way is maintaining a Gratitude journal and has resulted to be very effective. All you have to do is make a rough record or list of things that you felt grateful for. You don’t need to prepare a whole long list everyday and feel bounded about it but simply add one or more little things that made you smile and feel grateful, on a daily basis. This practice increases your ability to acknowledge things you usually fail to notice.
- Express your love and appreciation ~ Expression of what you feel is powerful and gives a sense of satisfaction and bliss. Write notes or letters to people you love, people who made you happy someday or simply the ones who were kind to you and you appreciate their act. Nurture your friendships and embrace what you have by sharing what you feel. This makes the other person happy as well and that reciprocation multiplies your satisfaction. The expression of your positive feelings also help in building good relationships and bridges the communication gap.
- Avoid negative media and switch to positive ~ Our senses, what we see and hear influences our actions and mood. Watching and listening to negative media brings you closer to negativity which starts reflecting in your behaviour as well. Try on watching positive videos, listening to soothing music, reading good books, all of this will help you notice and appreciate the good in the world and influence your behaviour positively. This helps people giving and attracting positive vibes which are very important to live and lead a healthy life.
- Observe the beauty of nature ~ A famous known and understood fact of life is, fall in love and find the beauty in things that would always stay along and you’d never need to search for it when you need it. Nature is one such beautiful part of our lives that won’t leave our side once you fall in love with it. The soothing wind, the sound of sea waves, colours of sunset shining through the clouds, the flower blooming as if smiling at you, these things are eternal and always makes you smile once you start understanding its beauty. The sky full of stars and you star-gazing can never feel lonely. Observing the beauty of nature brings happiness to your life by simply existing.
- Involve yourself in the acts of kindness ~ Join a cause that matters to you or get yourself involved in social work. Enrolling with an NGO can be a good idea but if not something in that large of scale, try doing small acts of kindness daily. Helping old aged people with whatever they need in a situation, feeding stray dogs, donating your old clothes or maybe just giving ten bucks extra to the street vegetable vendor without trying to bargain can be counted as your acts of kindness. The moment you start appreciating what you have by comparing yourself with the ones who have less and not more than you, you’ll understand the importance of having a giving nature and will start helping people out with whatever you can. The humbleness you show while doing such things makes you feel good about yourself subconsciously which later on helps you feel positive about yourself.
- Avoid criticizing, gossiping and talking negatively ~ You become what you feed your mind, what you believe, what you speak and what you surround yourself with. If you keep criticizing people and notice what their flaws are in your perspective, you’ll end up becoming a gloom-ridden person who fails to find and look at the plus of others and not minus. This gets reflected in our personality easily and we develop a negative vibe. Instead of gossiping around about somebody else’s life or criticizing them, try on appreciating them for what they are good at and notice the same. Nobody is perfect and everybody has flaws, our wisdom lies in accepting them while helping them out of it and not by discussing about their lives. You also must surround yourself with people who have an uplifting nature.
- Stop complaining ~ Like our happiness multiplies by expressing and sharing, the same happens with every other emotion. If you complain about situations in your life, the more you think and talk about it, the more it strengthens up in your heart and mind. You must understand the fact that there’s always gonna be difficulties and problems throughout your life and you’ll have to deal with it alone. What can be changed is the way you look at it, the way you perceive it. Try on having a positive approach towards your problems. Instead of feeling sad over it, try finding out what you got to learn through it. Try analyzing the whole phase and telling yourself what you’ll take forward about it and what you’ll leave behind. Make sure what you take forward is what helps you grow and not keep you stuck with the past.
- Start and end your day with gratitude ~ Be thankful for each day you’re gifted and take it as an opportunity to become a better person. Keep in mind that the gratitude you’re practicing is for your own good and your kind actions are just a source that lead you to the peace. Remind yourself that you’re worthy of all the bliss and ready for all the difficulties; for whatever happens, happens for good. Just like you begin your day with gratitude, end it the same way. It can be a little prayer or just a thanks, a text message of appreciation to somebody or a pat on your back while telling yourself that you made the day a good one with no regrets but happiness and peace.
Some of the psychological aspects of practicing gratitude are the higher level of positive emotions, alertness and awakeness towards life everyday, more optimism, peace and happiness. Gratitude also assists our health by resulting with balanced blood pressure, good sleep, stronger immune system and makes us less bothered about the pain and aches. The attitude of gratitude not only helps us in multiple ways but the people around us as well.
Our life is a sum of both good and bad. We learn and grow through our experiences. The sense of acceptance and gratitude brings us closer to the ultimate meaning of life and helps us live it to the fullest and isn’t that the best return gift to life?