With Thanksgiving week, we are reminded about the fact that we should give thanks and the importance of gratitude. Over the years, I personally have come to realize that gratitude is extremely important for your wellbeing every single day…….not only during certain holidays. There are many advantages of gratitude, but for me personally there are two main advantages.
The first one is simply the shift of my own perspective. What I mean by this is, by practicing gratitude every single day, we focus our mind on the positive and good in life. Even if there is nothing to be positive about, at some point we have trained our brain to look for the positive in each situation. Of course this is not always easy, and it has nothing to do with never getting upset……but it helps to put things into perspective, and to ask yourself (once you have calm down of course:) whether it is worth it to waste your energy on that particular situation.
I have experienced that it is very easy in our everyday life to focus on all the things that are not exactly the way we would like them to be, to get upset about the smallest thing……the problem with this is that after a while, we have “trained” our brain to look only for reasons to get upset, or to complain about! Nothing we have is ever good enough, and we are never satisfied with anything……does that sound familiar?
That is why I have made it a priority to start and end my day with gratitude. What I mean by this is that the very first thing I do in the morning when I wake up is to think of at least three things in general that I am grateful for. It is amazing the effect something so small can have on your overall wellbeing and mood for the rest of the day. I find myself in situations where if it was a few years ago, I would be getting totally upset……but meanwhile I just look at the big picture and ask myself “is it really that bad? is it worth it getting really upset?”. I also end each day the same way – I think of at least three things that I am grateful for that had happened that day. This allows me to go to sleep with a positive, happy and relaxed mind…..and not worried about the following day, or whatever it might be.
The second positive effect gratitude has is simply being happy with what you have! Realize that buying more, bigger and more expensive stuff is not going to make you happier…….at least not in the long run. It has nothing to do with setting goals, and achieving them…..but it is about the fact that you should enjoy the actual journey, the life that you are living, and the opportunities that you are given along the way. I love the following quote by Oprah Winfrey, which for me personally sums up what gratitude is all about!
“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”
Currently I am reading a book by Oprah Winfrey, called “The Wisdom of Sundays”. The content is based on the many different talks and conversations she had with experts on her show Super Soul Sunday. If you are not sure how to incorporate gratitude and mindfulness in your everyday life, I strongly recommend reading this book – it is an eye opener of how simple things can be with the right mindset!
Photo by © Smileus / Fotolia.com
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