Are you ready to ignite your soul by feeling joy most of the time?
Life isn’t always peaches and cream. But wouldn’t you like to know how to get through the “bad times” more easily?
Yes, I’m talking about feeling grateful for where you’re at in your life. And learning to be grateful for the life lessons that pop up regularly.
What is Gratitude?
Have you ever wondered what exactly is gratitude? At some point in your life, someone may have told you that you should be more grateful for something.
Or maybe you were told you should always say “Thank you” when someone gives you something. And you just say it automatically. But do you feel grateful for the gift?
Feeling gratitude in the moment brings more joy to your life. It’s a way of appreciating things just the way they are.
I’ve talked quite a bit in this blog about being mindful. Staying in the present moment allows us the opportunity to make better decisions, and to appreciate our lives more.
To take that to the next level we can learn to be grateful for everything in our life right now as it is.
That may seem a bit difficult if you’re going through some problems. Maybe someone close to you is ill. Or your car just broke down for the third time this year.
But choose to be grateful. Meditate and reflect on what may be the positive.
Or maybe someone in your life is driving you nuts. Maybe it seems like they’re always angry at you. Or they’re in a bad mood.
It may seem a bit crazy, but when you start thanking people around you for doing their job, for being kind, for helping out when they didn’t have to, you will get rewarded with more kindness.
In a nutshell, being grateful is being accepting and appreciative. It’s also not judging something as good or bad. It just is. And there’s a lesson in there for you.
Things to Be Grateful For
Write up your favorites and keep them nearby so you can easily access it. Then when things are tough, remind yourself that there’s always something to be grateful for.
- Waking up this morning
- Having shelter
- Having a bed
- Ability to read
- Clothes to wear
- Shoes for your feet
- Means to travel
- Technology to allow you to connect to others
- Safe drinking water
- Your ability to control your own mind
- Your ability to learn something new
- Your ability to teach someone something
- Your innate talents
- The skills you’ve learned
- Your job or ability to support yourself
- Your hobbies
- Your ability to feel and to control your emotions
- Your memories
- Your choice of holidays and how you continue traditions
- Your birthday and anniversaries
- Your milestones (learning to walk, to talk, to graduate from school)
- The smell of clean laundry
- Watching raindrops fall
- Feeling the sun on your face or wind in your hair
You may think those are obvious (and put your favorites in the comments section). But here’s three more that are worth remembering
- The things you didn’t get right the first time
- The doors that closed when you wanted the to open (and the doors or windows that did open)
- The lessons you learned through your experiences
How Does Gratitude Help Me?
You might be surprised that gratitude can improve your health both physical and mental.
Feeling grateful and in the moment creates an inner calm and helps you be more in control of your life.
Stress is the worst thing for our bodies. When we are stressed, we are flooding our bodies with all kinds of negative hormones.
When our bodies are under constant stress, it dampens our immune system. So one of the best ways to avoid a cold is get rid of stress.
Your body may not be perfect. However it’s important to be grateful for the body you have right now.
You can improve upon things. But remember how amazing it is that you can get up in the morning. You can stretch.
Having a positive mindset enables us to see the world in a different way. Once we start to appreciate the good around us, we start to seem more good in the world.
Having a grateful mindset brings peace to our brains.
Don’t Resist What Is
Often, our unhappiness is caused by not accepting what is.
We can only improve our lives by seeing and accepting how things really are. When we can measure something, you can monitor it as it gets better.
Let’s say you wanted to increase your fruits and vegetables. The only way you know if you’re increasing is if you know where you’re starting. So don’t resist measuring.
Let It Be
Have you noticed that you have scripts running in your head?
How many times have you thought “He shouldn’t have said that!” or “That car is parked poorly!” or “She shouldn’t have talked to me with that tone!”
It’s okay to let those judgments go.
You don’t have to feel stressed by what someone else does. Learn how to observe yourself thinking these things. Then it gets easier to not think them.
When you’re grateful, you’ve accepted the status quo. That doesn’t mean you can’t want better. It just means you’re satisfied where you are.
And it has to be a true satisfaction.
You can’t tell yourself that you hate your job but you’ll stick with it because the money is good or the benefits are great. Or that you hate where you live, but it’s convenient to shopping.
If you are in a place where you’re unhappy but don’t feel you can change the situation, then change your attitude towards the situation.
Find some way to be grateful, and look for where you can find joy every day.
You can be dissatisfied but happy and thankful. That will open up paths for you to choose because you’re calmer and can see the situation objectively.
Are you holding on to past hurts? Did someone chat you? Did someone never pay you back? Did someone tell your secrets behind your back?
Forgiveness isn’t about approving what the other person did. It’s releasing the negative hold it has over you and your life.
No matter what was said or done, it’s past now. So if you can’t wish them well, at least think of them in a neutral fashion.
Accept that everyone makes mistakes. And you don’t know what was going on in their lives when it happened.
The most important person to forgive is yourself, you know. When I said accept that everyone makes mistakes, I was including you.
Release the baggage of self-recrimination. Learn your lesson and move on being grateful for the experience.
The Benefits of Gratitude
How many times have you said “Once I get X, I’ll be happy” or “Once Y happens, I’ll be happy.”
The truth is you will never be happy as long as you have it contingent upon some event.
When you choose gratitude, you’ll be happier now, and some amazing things will start to happen.
Attract More of What You Love
The law of attraction is very tightly bound to gratitude. It’s almost like the Universe is saying “Oh, you want more happiness? You want more joy? I’ll give you more things that made you happy and joyous!”
Seeing More Abundance Everywhere
When you have a more positive mindset, you realize that there is so much out there. And that there is plenty for all.
As the late actress Rosalind Russell said, “Life is a banquet, and more poor suckers are starving to death.” (I believe it was from Auntie Mame)
Be grateful for all that is out there, and appreciate the abundance.
Turn Bad Days Around
Let your smile be your umbrella.
Ok maybe that was a bit silly. But when you are grateful and accepting for all that is, you know that you will get through negative situations quickly.
Remember, you’re not a victim of circumstances. Reclaim your power over your life.
My Final Thoughts
I hope you know now why it’s important to be grateful. It’s the easiest way to happiness in life. You also reduce stress which is healthier for your body.
Additionally, our lives become self-fulfilling prophecies. As we become happier, we gravitate towards people and situations that make us happier.
You and I both know that bad things do happen in life. There is no avoiding it. But feeling gratitude for the lessons that you learned during the struggle will help you get through it much faster. And you will be buoyed by your inner joy.
Choosing gratitude is like weight training. Just keep practicing every single day until it becomes automatic. Some days will be easier than others. In other days you will amaze yourself with your ninja gratitude. Be grateful for all of your past, but let it stay in the past.
Learn your lessons from your experiences. But don’t define yourself by your experiences you are an incredible person, and you can ignite your soul by making the choice to be grateful today.