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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
In a society that’s governed by the haves versus the have-nots, it’s easy to be ungrateful and look for things we don’t have rather than to be grateful for what we have. When you’re working tirelessly to no avail, unable to get ahead in life, especially after enduring the heartache of failure or financial turmoil, it’s simple to get disillusioned and it’s easy to not be grateful.
If you find yourself in that situation right now, fear not, we’ve all been there. Yet, there are ways we can become grateful for the things we have in our lives. In fact, gratitude is quite possibly the most direct pathway to success. Recently I asked myself the question: “Why is it so important to have gratitude in life?” Quite literally, what I realized over time was that gratitude transformed my life.
But I wasn’t able to see all the things that I had to be grateful for until I experienced what I would call, monumental failures in life. The lessons gleaned from those failures were paramount for me.
Failure allows one to look at things differently, to see everything in a new light, with a new perspective. If you’ve failed at something, or you’re living a life less than you feel you deserve, keep the faith.
Keep up the hope because there’s light at the other end of the tunnel. To be Focused on being Grateful amidst whatever the hardships of life is key to success. While it might sound strange, gratitude is the surest pathway to both success and happiness.
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. 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 them. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone's gratitude, it's a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.
Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can't feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met.
Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.
Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis.
Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person's impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible.
Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.
Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with loved one thought about the gifts you've received each day.
Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.
Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.
Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as "peace"), it is also possible to focus on what you're grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.)
That’s how gratitude can truly change and transform your life. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Keep practicing gratitude to make it the way of life.