We all know what gratitude is, but do we all know the power that it has? Being able to understand, and feel the effects of consistently expressing gratitude can be eye-opening. Practicing gratitude and recognizing the role it plays in the world around us is one of the easiest ways to change your life.
What Is Gratitude?
Gratitude is having an appreciation for the good things that come your way in life, no matter how small. It is appreciating the beauty of a field of wildflowers as you drive by in a car. It is meeting someone new, with whom you look forward to establishing a relationship. It also can be more literal, such as writing a thank-you note, or expressing thanks for a kindness that someone has shown you. Gratitude helps you replace negative thoughts with positive ones. In essence, gratitude is anything that makes you smile.
The Power of Gratitude
The power of gratitude is tremendous. It can lift any feelings of insufficiency that you may be carrying around with you, feelings that you are not “good enough.” It can help replace those feelings, including those of depression, with an improved sense of self-esteem and self-worth.
As you practice making gratitude a conscious part of your life, every day, you will begin to notice that the sun shines a little brighter, music is more inspiring, and maybe even that the traffic lights seem to turn green for you more often. Perhaps the best thing about expressing gratitude is that it is one of the easiest things you can do in your daily life.
In Praise of Gratitude
You will discover many reasons to be happy for the way that gratitude can enrich your life, from the inside out. In strengthening your mental health, it can help you stand up to any adversity that comes your way, and help you deal with it more effectively than you may have in the past. It will show you how to be thankful for what you have, instead of constantly striving to reach that one thing that you feel you need to make you happy. Being thankful helps you focus on what you have instead of what you want.
Gratitude Can Be Motivating
Gratitude can be motivating. Expressing thanks has been shown to improve your physical and mental well-being. When we remember to count our blessings, we are able to focus on the positive things in our lives and diminish, or eliminate, the negative feelings that bring us down.
Being more positive is motivating but the feedback you receive from expressing gratitude, makes you feel good about yourself. You will want more positive feedback to continue feeling good about yourself, and therefore will be motivated to continuing practicing gratitude, however you can, to maintain that positive rush.
Don’t wait until you need to give your self-esteem a boost to chase away that “down in the dumps” feeling. Start today. Start a gratitude journal, where you can catalog your gratitude daily, and have it to review when you need a pick-me-up. Or just thank someone for his or her help. Once you understand gratitude and how it can work, it can do wonderful things for you and your whole outlook on life.