Gratitude: The Key to a Happy Life
When we are grateful, we can fill others up. We’re thankful for the contributions others have made in our life.
By DAWN DAMON
A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing … Proverbs
The premiere key to living a fulfilled life. By practicing gratitude you employ one of the most reliable methods for increasing happiness and life satisfaction, generating feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm, and other similar positive emotions.
Since the gratitude attitude is your ticket to a meaningful and happy life, it’s important to cultivate thankfulness.
Here are some proven ways to cultivate gratitude:
1. Get grateful for life every day
If you’re not grateful- change it. This is a decision you can make by choosing what you want to focus on.
2. Start every morning with the practice of gratitude
Count and recite your blessings out loud. Let your heart and soul hear what you are thankful for. For starters:
- Be thankful for another opportunity to take air into your lungs; to sing; to laugh, and to cry.
- Be thankful if you have two eyes that can see. Many are blind.
- Be thankful for the mobility to have and the ability you have. Many are paralyzed; many are limited.
- Be grateful for another day to make a difference.
3. Change your perspective and learn to be grateful
As the adage goes… some people are “glass half empty” and some are “glass half full,” either way gratitude says, I’m thankful I have a glass.
- Be grateful in your circumstances.
- Be grateful for the chaos of children around you. It means you’re not alone.
- And for dishes in the sink and for laundry in the pile. It means you have food and a family to wear the clothes.
- Thank God for the people in your life.
- Be grateful for the blessings of supply and protection.
- Be thankful for the trials and the pain and the storms. They all make you better, stronger.
Robert Emmons in his book, “Why Gratitude is good,” gives us these points:
1. Gratitude Allows Us to Live in The Now
The brain is addicted to “new things.” We adapt so quickly to the goodness around us, we constantly need something else to bring the feeling of joy- gratitude delays the adaptation, and helps us take in the moments that matter.
2. Gratitude Blocks Negative Toxic Emotions
Feelings like resentment, envy, regret, and depression can be blocked by adopting an attitude of gratitude, preventing the episodes of depression. Evidence proves that gratitude minimizes these and other toxic emotions. You can’t be grateful and bitter at the same time.
3. Gratitude Makes People More Resilient
People who count their blessings interpret life’s events through a filter of thankfulness. They endure through trials, suffering, and trauma better. Studies show that these blessings-counters are healthier, less stressful, and have lower blood pressure. No wonder the Proverb says, “A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
4. Gratitude Strengthens Relationships and Your Self-Worth
When we are grateful, we can fill others up. We’re thankful for the contributions others have made in our life. “I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion,” writes Emmons, “because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”
Studies prove that when grateful feelings are present, your brain shows activity in a set of regions located in the medial prefrontal cortex, an area in the frontal lobes of the brain where the two hemispheres meet. This area of the brain is associated with understanding other people’s perspectives, empathy, and feelings of relief. This is also an area of the brain that is massively connected to the systems in the body and brain that regulate emotion and support the process of stress relief.
To sum it all up, Gratitude is the Key to a happy and content life.
Today you have life – it’s a gift. That’s why it’s called the “Present.”
What will YOU do with your gift?