In today’s world there are many things that can get us down. The job market is tight, we are living in a recession, we seem to have more health problems, and many of us are having a hard time making ends meet. Given this situation, it is easy for us to wake up every morning with anger, frustration, and depression. In fact, many of us do and ironically it is this attitude that creates our problems for us. It is time for us to make a choice. Do we want to stress and burn ourselves out with our feelings of frustration and anger or do we want to unwind, recoup, and feel a sense of happiness with our feelings of gratitude? It’s your choice, but here are some of the benefits of changing your perspective.
Like I mentioned, gratitude is a choice; a choice to see things differently than they are. When we choose to be grateful, we are focusing on the things that are good or right in our life, as opposed to the things that aren’t. Canadians and Americans do this once a year at Thanksgiving, but that one day isn’t enough to give us a solid foundation of gratefulness.
Let’s consider the example of an accountant to further outline this. An accountant keeps a ledger to how much money goes out versus how much comes in. The balance sheet shows how much you have spent and how much is owed to you. If we pause and self examine ourselves, many of us will find that we keep our own ledgers, emotional and mental. We concentrate on what’s owed to us when in fact we should be doing the opposite.
Our repsonses to inadequacies or inequalities in life are an indication of whether we are grateful or not. Do we sit and moan about what is missing in our life; why we don’t have more money in the bank account; or why aren’t we being promoted at work? Or do we sit and reflect and look for areas where we can say ‘thank you’?
When we switch our perspective from one of angst to gratefulness, it erases the imbalance at the bottom of our ledgers. We find ourselves empowered and hopeful about changing life event’s instead feeling hopeless and like giving up. We find a new sense of peace, contentment and joy. Life no longer seems overwhelming. In fact, we find ourselves embracing challenges and working hard. We find ourselves tackling goals that we never thought would be possible, like becoming debt free. We end up happier which in turn helps us make wiser decisions since we are no longer acting on our feelings of desperation or incompleteness.
To get you started on becoming grateful, below is a gratitude action plan that you can put into effect.
- Be grateful for the people in your life. One of the easiest ways to be grateful and say thank you is to look at the people in your life. Make a list of everyone you know that has a positive influence on you. Take action to let them know how they positively influence your life. This exercise will remind you that most people’s intentions in life are genuine and this will provide you with a sense of hope for the future. Knowing the world isn’t out there to get us makes it a lot easier to get up in the morning.
- Be grateful to mother nature. Over the decades we have not treated her well. In fact we have caused so many problems for her that she may never fully recouporate. We have forgotten about all of the great things she provides for us. At least one day a week, take a moment to pause and take in the beauty of the nature around you. Sit and watch the sunrise or listen to a bird sing. You will be amazed at the sense of gratitude that overcomes you during this.
- Be grateful for your talents and those of others. In today’s world a competitive nature surrounds us. In fact, it takes over us sometimes, to the point where we lose our true selves. We need to remember that we each have gifts and talents and that those talents add happiness to others lives. We also need to remember that others talents are there to bring happiness to our life. So instead of trying to one-up someone, appreciate their skill and talent for what it is and enjoy seeing it. Be grateful for the individuality of everyone around us and remember we are all pieces to the puzzle.
- Be grateful for what you experience. Everyone’s life is filled with memories- some good, some bad- but it is those memories and experiences that have gotten us to where we are today. Be grateful for the good things that have come your way and how it has added joy to your life. Also be grateful for the bad memories, the challenges you have faced; be grateful for the lessons you learned, the wisdom you gained, and the personal growth that came out of them.
- Be grateful for your life. Every day we are given the opportunity to choose how we live our lives and what we contribute to the world. Remember each day is a new day and that we have the power to change our circumstances. Be grateful that you have the choice to be who we want to be and that you can find a way to deal with any situation.
You see, gratitude really is the key to happiness. It is the foundation of hope, optimism, and accomplishment. Recognizing and appreciating all of the things you have in your life will empower you to find and express true happiness.
So, what are you going to start being grateful for? How can gratefulness change your life?