You have probably seen people who have everything they desire, a career, family, and relationship, but are still unhappy?
My life was no different. I just craved admiration and achievement without a thought of gratitude. I assumed that once I obtained what I wanted, I would feel happy and fulfilled. But every time I achieved what I wanted, I failed to feel the happiness I craved.
Slowly, resentment and envy started building up inside me. The overpowering emotions were taking me down a depressive path. But what could I do, apparently everything seemed perfect around me. But I stayed discontent and unhappy.
With so many privileges at my disposal, I was failing to recognize what I was fortunate to possess. I felt entitled to all the privileges, that I refused to appreciate everything I had been given. My disdain was a result of arrogance, vanity, and a constant desire to achieve more that drove me to lose perspective of all I had on my plate.
Then I met a poised, composed, elderly wise woman. She taught me a life-changing lesson about making gratitude a way of life. This one thing brought bliss in my life.
She suggested, make gratitude a way of life; it will transform your life.
What am I doing? I felt tiny. I was complaining about everything in my life, why I couldn’t be thankful for all I have.
When I looked for scientific evidence to support how gratitude improves quality of life, I was surprised to find that, "Expressing gratitude reduces stress, increase optimism and changes your brain. Gratitude may enhance peace of mind, reduce rumination, and have a negative effect on depressive symptoms."
"Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, says that by keeping a gratitude journal or writing daily about moments for which we're grateful-can significantly improve well-being and life satisfaction."
Sadly, we all have an unfortunate tendency to pick things that aren't there over those that are there.
To ignore hundreds of positive things in a person and focus solely on what is wrong with them.
By focusing and dwelling on fault finding we tend to forget the numerous blessings around us.
Relationships turn dysfunctional because we fail to appreciate each others; we find faults, nitpick , criticize instead of valuing what is good about them or what they do nice.
Most of the marriages fail or partners fight because partners refuse to show that they appreciate each other and end up creating a toxic environment.
We tend to overlook our partner and family contributions to our lives. How many of us actually thank them regularly? How many actually count every day, what all the good things do we have?
At the work place, how many of us count all the benefits we have, how does it make us happy? We remember what is going on wrong; how the work, boss, colleague and environment suck, but often forget that once upon a time we desperately longed for this opportunity.
How gratitude helps improve your quality of life?
Why gratitude is so powerful?
Gratitude gives a person a sense of coherence, which in turn measures how confident and optimistic they feel about their future and present events in their life.
Whenever you feel grateful or express gratitude, dopamine (a feel-good hormone or neurotransmitter) is released in your body, thus associating the behavior with positive feelings. The more you practice gratitude, the more regularly dopamine is released.
That's how you can reap these benefits:
Increased happiness and positive mood
More satisfaction with life
Less materialistic outlook
Less likely to experience burnout
Better physical health
Lower levels of cellular inflammation
Greater resiliency and
Encourages the development of patience, humility, and wisdom
I promised myself I am going to make gratitude a habit. I incorporated a small change, each morning when I look myself up in the mirror, I count my blessings. I started counting and noting down what I am thankful for, in my gratitude journal. I smile when someone does a favor to me, and this time when I say thanks, it reflects in my eyes, because it’s genuine. I started questioning:
1. What did this person give to me? (giving)
2. What did I return to this person? (receiving)
3. What trouble did I cause this person? (hurting)
This small change yielded numerous positive results. I slept better, felt more energetic, and my optimism improved substantially. I also started feeling better and became more elated.
Most importantly, I learned to tell my partner how thankful I am to have him. These small gestures changed my life. Now my partner feels at ease around me, unlike before when he avoided me as he was afraid he would get criticism from me again. Yes, those ugly fights were the result of those small criticisms.
How to practice gratitude:
Few examples, how to show gratitude to other:
I say thanks,
When the security staff opens the door
When my family waits for me at dinner
When my child gives me a hug
When I look in the mirror and seem to be healthy and fine and say thanks to god
When my junior finishes their task, by extending extra hours
And the list goes on. When you look around, you find ample opportunity to be grateful for. All you need to do is stay conscious and vocalize it.
Now a small change has got in major favor. I became more stress-resilient, and it strengthened my social ties and actual self-worth.
When a small act of gratitude can substantial make improvements in optimism, better mental health, and buffer people from stress and depression, then why not make it a habit? What do you say?
Leave your replies in the comment section below.