“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude” Brene Brown
Appreciating the little things that happen in our everyday lives has a great impact in our lives. It breeds contentment, promotes optimism, strengthens relationships, reduces stress and makes us happier. To notice these little things, however, we have to be paying attention. It’s very easy to get caught up in the constant pursuit of achieving and acquiring the things we want, believing that once we get them, we will be happy and contented. The downside of focusing on all the material pursuit is that, several years down the line, we look back at all we have acquired and realize that we never really got to live and enjoy life. Plus, the more we get to our desired level of wealth, somehow, we’ll keep wanting more because as human beings, our needs are constantly changing and growing.
No matter where you are in life, be happy; be grateful. You may think you have nothing to be grateful for, but like my pastor says, “If you can think, you can thank”. Even when it seems like your world is crashing in on you and you have nothing to be thankful for, do your best to change your thoughts by practicing gratitude.
Robert Emmons, PhD who carried out studies on gratitude’s effects wrote in his book titled Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier “We have discovered that a person who experiences gratitude is able to cope more effectively with everyday stress, may show increased resilience in the face of trauma-induced stress, and may recover more quickly from illness and benefit from greater physical health.” He says that gratitude is one of the few things that can change people’s lives in a measurable way.
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for” Zig Ziglar
Gratitude requires consciousness, daily practice and discipline of heart; below are some ways we can find the peace of mind that we all seek.'
Keeping a gratitude journal
Establish a set time to write down things you are grateful for in your life. It could something you do first thing on the morning or just before bed. Don’t just go through the motions but make a conscious decision to become happier and more grateful.
Focus on the positive
Negative thoughts drain you of energy and keep you from being in the present moment. Don’t dwell on the difficulties or challenges you might be experiencing. Channel your energy into doing what you can to change your life for the better.
Express your gratitude to others
Write thank you notes, send thank you messages to loved ones, give genuine compliments to people around you and try to show love to everyone. We also tend to take our loved ones for granted, endeavor to express your gratitude to them as often as you can.
Distance yourself from negativity
Keep away from negative people, negative and destructive media because they have a way of poisoning your mind such that you are unable to see or think positively about anyone and anything.
Find ways to be helpful
Seek ways to help your community, neighbors, church and friends. You’ll find out that making people happy will also makes you happy.
Make gratitude a part of your family’s life
Teach your children to write thank you notes for gifts they received. Teach them to appreciate the people in their lives and to say thank you as often as possible to them. Create a routine around your activities where you all can express your appreciation for the things that happen in your life daily.
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