Stuck in a rut? Worn out? Depressed? Try incorporating gratitude into life, and watch your happiness change like magic.
Being grateful not only fills a person with happiness; it allows them to enjoy the good more fully, it improves health, gives emotional strength to deal with adversity, and builds stronger relationships. Who doesn’t want better relationships? Here are reasons people love grateful people
- …are easier to work with
- …create connection
- …are empathetic
- …express their confidence in others
- …are more successful
Step 1, Draw More Positivity Into Life
Coming up with authentic compliments may trigger feelings of middle-school-PTSD. Remember when it was painful and awkward to think of anything to say, so we all mumbled the first thing that came to our minds, “I-I like your mole.” It may seem difficult to say thank you or to speak up and compliment another for their efforts, vulnerability, or kindness, but each day is a new beginning and a fresh start. If this is painful, start with strangers, people you will never see again. Better yet, turn that trolling temptation on social media into an opportunity to lift people and throw out compliments to the public. “Thank you to everyone who is in my life. I appreciate you.”
Is life a barrage of difficulty?
If it seems like there isn’t much to be grateful for in life, take a lesson from Will Smith, “If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other people’s lives better.” How do we do that? Serve others. Ask, “CanI help you?” If every thought in our minds revolves around negativity, our view becomes tainted. Change the focus that fills your lens, and the view of the world will change.
Step 2, Change your Lens.
According to David Steindl-Rast, an American Catholic Benedictine monk, asks the question, “Does happiness cause one to be grateful or does being grateful create happiness?” (forbes.com/Jennifer Cohen). In his Ted Talk on happiness, he states being grateful is the sole creator of happiness. Don’t believe him Oprah even says so, and who can ignore the guru of cultural wisdom? “Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.” When reflecting about the happenings of the day, list things and put a positive spin on them. “I got a speeding ticket?” That’s enough to ruin anyones day, but what if we add a little stoic perspective? “I got a darn speeding ticket, but at least I didn’t get in an accident.” Life can always get worse.
“The greatest discovery of all time s that a person can change [their] future by merely changing [their] attitude.” Oprah Winfrey.
Step 3, Reinforce the Good.
According to inc.com in an article titled: Change your mindset with the same hacks used by Will Smith, Muhammed Ali, and Oprah, there are powerful tools that can change the direction of your life, and one of them is a gratitude journal. Every day add three entries reinforcing the good. Write down accomplishments had during the workday, or people around who made the day better. “I am grateful for a good boss.” (We can all dream.) If you have teenagers, or work with them, be grateful for the peaceful moments or their desire for independence (as infuriating as it may be at times). If illness shadows each day, be grateful for each breath you have, as long as you have them. Andrew Thomas, Inc writer, testifies, “[It] seem[s] simple, but [it’s] powerful—and [it] work[s].”
“Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”Lachlan Brown
Happiness is Possible
Guatam Buddha says, “Pain is certain. Suffering is optional.” First, if we turn our thoughts outward and lift others, joy will permeate around us and spread like a wildfire. Second, change the way we see the world. “Our glass is half full, to half empty, to perhaps even—Wow! We have a glass.” Third, write it all down. Focusing on the good reinforces that outlook in our minds, and cements it for reflection. Happiness is a gift we choose to open, so open it and share it. The world could definite use the happiness virus! For more information check out the happiness lab.