It’s not what you think
Some say love makes the world go-’round — I beg to differ. Love is good. But in my humble opinion, gratitude makes the world a better place. A posture of gratitude breaks down barriers leaving the door open to love, kindness, understanding, peace, and joy.
“When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out, and the tide of love rushes in.” — Kristin Armstrong
What is Gratitude?
According to The Harvard Medical School,
“Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, being grateful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”
“There is no greater sin than desire, No greater curse than discontent, No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself. Therefore he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” — Lao Tzu
When Gratitude is Enough
We live in a society that focuses on achievement — adding more to our canvas, and appreciating less, leading to discontent. Often, we believe we don’t have enough. In our quest for “more,” we move on to the next without appreciating the present.
Unfortunately, when you’re ungrateful, you’re not concentrating on the good aspects of your life, leaving you resentful and even angry. You’re scanning for what’s missing, making choices based on what is lacking rather than what you have to work with, which can really go against your path to true happiness.
What if we changed our outlook and appreciate every moment — even the minutia we don’t think matters. Like when someone says thank you or holds the door for you. In my opinion, the world would be a better place. Would you agree?
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” -Aesop
How to Get Started
Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be complicated. One of the best ways to incorporate gratitude is to use a gratitude journal. Take time daily to write down why you are grateful.
In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
A gratitude journal is only one way to incorporate gratitude into your daily lifestyle. There are other ways to cultivate gratitude — too many to share in this article. A quick Google search can help you find gratitude exercises and practices that resonate with you. The most important thing is to get started. The social, mental and physical benefits are worth the effort.