It Isn’t “Superficial” To Always Be Grateful In Life

Always Be Grateful In LifeIn my free periods, I usually try to simply sit or kneel, with no distractions, close my eyes, and think about that things and people in my life that I’m fortunate to have. I don’t do this every day, but whenever I’m able to take the time out to carefully reflect on those things in my life that I ought to be grateful for having, it makes me feel refreshed and motivated afterwards.

Why should that be? Why should the simple act of thinking about who and what I’m grateful for, make such a big difference in my life?

Some of the reasons that I’ve being able to find the right words to explain, are these:

  1. Because it reminds you of the positive things in your life - It makes you happy about the people in your life, whether they’re loved ones or just a stranger you met who was kind to you in some ways.
  2. Because being grateful draws your focus to the positive sides of what you’ve presumed to be “BAD” - Having problems at work? Be grateful you have work. Be grateful you have challenges, and that life isn’t boring. Be grateful that you can learn from these challenges. Be thankful they make you a stronger person in the end.
  3. Because it reminds you of what’s important. It’s hard to complain about the little things when you’re grateful that your children are alive and healthy. It’s hard to get stressed out over paying bills when you are grateful there is a roof over your head.
  4. Because it reminds you to thank others. I’ll talk about this more later on, but the simple act of saying “thank you” to someone or just being thankful can make a big difference in that person’s life. Calling them, emailing them, stopping by to say thank you … just taking that minute out of your life to tell them why you are grateful towards them is important to them. People like being appreciated for who they are and what they do. It costs you little, but makes someone else happy. And making someone else happy will make you happy too.


When The Going’s Good

When times are good, people take prosperity for granted and begin to believe that they are invulnerable. Until during those periods of uncertainties will these people come to the realization of how powerless they truly are to control their own destiny. If you begin to see that everything you have been counting on, can all be taken away, it becomes much harder to take it for granted.

Gratitude also helps us cope with crisis. Consciously cultivating an attitude of gratitude helps us build up a sort of psychological immune system that can cushion us when we fall. There is scientific evidence that grateful people are more resilient to stress, whether minor everyday hassles or major personal upheavals. Why the exact opposite holds true for ungrateful people because they tend to only see their shortcomings which will result into negativity because all the person sees is how “life has been so unfair“.

To say that gratitude is a helpful strategy to handle hurt feelings does not mean that we should try to ignore or deny suffering and pain.

So telling someone to simply buckle up, count their blessings, and remember how much they still have to be grateful for, can certainly do much harm than good. Processing a life experience through a grateful lens does not mean denying negativity. It is not a form of “superficial happiology”. Instead, it means realizing the power you have to transform an obstacle into an opportunity. It means re-framing a loss into a potential gain, recasting negativity into positive channels for gratitude.

What do I give thanks for, privately, in my little gratitude session? It varies every time. I thank all the readers of this site, for the encouragement you have been given me, for the criticism some of you have also given that has made this site better … for the time you’ve given me, just reading the articles when you have the chance.

I thank my loved ones, for all they do to me. I thank strangers who’ve shown me little acts of kindness. I thank God, for the life he’s given me. I thank people around the world for the things they’ve done to make the world better. I thank myself, for the things that I’ve been able to achieve so far in my own life despite the conditions of how and where I grew up(it’s always important to recognize your own accomplishments too). It’s important to appreciate what you have.


Being Grateful During “The Downs”

Half a decade’s worth of research on gratitude has shown me that when life is going well, gratitude allows us to celebrate and magnify the goodness. But what about when life goes badly? I have often asked myself the question of whether people can—or should even—feel grateful when experiencing those “not-so-good” circumstances in life.


My response is that not only will a grateful attitude help, it is essential. In fact, it is precisely under crisis conditions that we have the most to gain by having a grateful perspective on life.

In other words, gratitude can help us cope with hard times.

Don’t get me wrong though. I am not suggesting that gratitude will come easily or naturally during crisis. Being grateful for what you have may be easy because it doesn’t take much to feel grateful for the good things but no one “feels” grateful that he or she has lost a job or a home or good health or has taken a devastating hit on his or her retirement portfolio.

But it is important that we know the distinction between “feeling grateful” and “being grateful”. We don’t have total control over our emotions. We cannot easily will ourselves to feel grateful, less depressed, or happy.

Our individual feelings are formed from the way we look at the world, thoughts we have about the way things are, the way things should be, and the distance between these two points.

But being grateful is a choice, a prevailing attitude that endures and is relatively immune to the gains and losses that flow in and out of our lives. When disaster strikes, gratitude provides a perspective from which we can view life in its entirety and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances. Yes, this perspective is hard to achieve—but I’ve learnt from experiences that it is worth the effort.


Learning How To Be Grateful

Gratitude itself is a practice. Anyone can do it, and it usually makes you feel a lot calmer and happier, so why not?

Learn to appreciate everything. Learn to appreciate the things that seem initially negative. For example, if you are having difficulties dealing with a particular person at work, be appreciative that they are teaching you how to better deal with difficult people. Even if you are experiencing physical pain, you can appreciate that you couldn’t feel the pain if you were dead. Don’t forget these acts on being grateful for your health.

I’m not trying to make you feel guilty for complaining. Gratitude is simply a practice. Learning to use gratitude can make you a whole lot happier in life. If you’d rather sulk in self pity, anger or grief then that is your choice. I’d rather be happy and peaceful.

Start right now. Look around where you are sitting. What are you grateful for? Don’t just be grateful for the obvious things. Be grateful for everything. Express gratitude for the ability to read these words, or if you are blind then at least the ability to read them. Express gratitude for your ability to think.

Gratitude isn’t the same as giving up on your goals and dreams. Gratitude isn’t the practice of, “Well, my life is pretty good I guess so I’ll just give up.” That is complacency, which can often be the antithesis to gratitude. Gratitude fits into the proactive lifestyle. Gratitude simply means that you appreciate what you already have. You must also be grateful for the opportunity to improve even more.

Besides if you aren’t practicing gratitude, then when you do achieve your goals, you won’t appreciate them so they will be worthless anyway. In that sense, gratitude is also among the critical component of goal-setting.


Conclusion

When I hear someone complaining about how bad their life is, I wonder if they’ve ever stopped to express gratitude for all the opportunities they have been given.

Take for instance, someone just got fired from a job:

An ungrateful mind would whine and whine for days over why things had to happen this way. Where is God? Why are people so unfair? Why me?

But to the grateful mind, their thoughts afterwards would be along the lines of: Okay, guess it’s time to go back to the drawing board and see where the next open door lies. But I really loved that job, the pay was good. Anyway, nothing lasts forever so I’ll have to accept the fact that I lost the job and there’s nothing I can do to get it back now and it’s either I sit here complaining or I look for the next open door with a good opportunity that I can start working on today.

Remember, your goal is not to deny those sad experiences but rather to create a new positive perspective on them.

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire, If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

And also, be thankful when you’re tired and weary, Because it means you’ve made a difference for the day.

Daniel Uyi.

Hope you found this post helpful? If yes, then I bet you would also love to read both of these my other posts below.




Daniel Uyi Subscription via Email If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe via email or RSS.










Share
Thanks for reading


Daniel Uyi is on Facebook. You can be a fan too~

Comments

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

(required)

(required but will not be published)


Notify via Email Only if someone replies to My Comment