More often than not, it takes the holidays to roll around for us to stop and remind ourselves of what we are grateful for in our lives. Hey, it happens to me too. Look at me, as its Thanksgiving today and I’m writing a blog about gratitude.
Over the last several years, I’ve gone through some significant changes in my life all of which have taught me some very valuable lessons. And the most notable is that of gratitude. It took some pretty hard lows for me to truly appreciate what gifts I already have inside me, and for me to see the beauty and abundance of life.
What I want to share with you today are 5 ways practicing gratitude can improve your life as well a list of things I’m grateful for at the moment. Between the turkey and the pie, I hope you find some time to share with your family and friends the things that you’re grateful for. Have an awesome Thanksgiving and I look forward to hearing what you’re grateful for in the comment section below.
5 Ways Practicing Gratitude Improves Your Life
1. You shift your focus from something negative to something positive.
When you start to appreciate the things you have and the people in your life, you move your attention from focusing on something negative, like complaining about what you don’t have, to something more positive, like the amazing things you do have. When you gain an appreciation for what you do have, I’ve found that the need for things you don’t have, diminishes.
Not only that, but when you are on the frequency of positivity, more good things will come into your life, just as negative thinking will attract more negative things. Remember, with the Law of Attraction, like attracts like.
2. You make others feel good, which puts people in the mood to want to help you out more.
A popular quote from Maya Angelou sums this up pretty well:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
When you can help someone feel good about themselves, it sticks. And when this happens, I’ve found that people are more apt to help you out, even without you asking. We can’t do it all alone, we need the support from people around us to help us reach our goals. And one of the best ways to get people on your side is to express your gratitude towards them.
Seriously, start thanking people in your life and showing them that you appreciate them, and you’ll have an entourage bigger than Lil’ Wayne.
3. Research has shown that giving thanks can actually make you happier.
Yes, it’s true. Certain parts of the brain, and in the case of positive thinking the left prefrontal cortex, is responsible for releasing certain hormones that make us feel good and which positively affect our well-being. One way researchers suggest to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal in which you write things you are thankful for or, to even write a letter thanking someone for something nice they did for you.
However you decide to do it, giving thanks is a quick way to boost your moods.
4. Negative thinking leads to more negative thinking, but positive thinking will lead to more positive thinking.
Your thought patterns mimic a snowball effect: think negative thoughts and ineviteably, you’ll think more negative thoughts. Think more positive thoughts, and you’re bound to think more positive thoughts. The more positive your thinking, the more open you are to positive things to happen in your life. People can even sense this, and unless you’re a grinch, people will want to spend more time with you the more positive and optimistic you are.
Being a positive being will also mean that you will attract more positive beings into your circle which opens up your life’s possibilities.
5. You divert the focus off of yourself and put your energy into something bigger.
I believe we are all just little dots of a much bigger picture. When we start to think less self-absorbed thoughts and instead put our energy into improving the well-being of us as a collective whole, we increase the frequency of positive vibrations. When the collective starts to resonate at a higher frequency, the effects will trickle down to each individual. You can see this in any successful company or winning sports team. When the individual players or employees are working towards one common goal, everyone benefits.
Being a part of something bigger and focusing our attention as a collective magnifies the frequency of positivity of which each individual will undoubtedly feel.
And to wrap up the post for today, I’ll leave you with some of the things that I’m grateful for at the moment:
- My health and unwavering optimism.
- My family and my 2 awesome brothers, Raul and Matthew.
- My kick-ass friends who think I’m super-cool despite being one of the biggest dweebs on the planet.
- My hard-working and always supportive clients. You guys brighten my life.
- Amazon.com and local used bookstores like Brookline Booksmith that support my undying book addiction.
- Badger Balm Lip moisturizer.
- Lululemon Groove Pants.
- My papasan chair.
- Warm autumn weather in New England.
- A blank journal.
- Dreams that you can remember.
- Holding hands with someone you love.
- Living in Boston.
- Not having a car and being able to walk or take public transportation to pretty much anywhere I need to go.
- Living less than a block away from Trader Joes’s.
- My MacBook Pro which has been a trusty companion.
- 90’s hip hop.
- My beautiful plants.
- My long, dark, wavy hair.
- Removing my mercury fillings.
- Drinking tea while reading before bed.
- Hot showers.
- Dark chocolate.
- Honesty and integrity.
- Rilke’s Book of Hours.