Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. – Marcus Tullius Cicero
It seems that we’re living in all-around negative and stress-inducing times. The pressure of being someone and getting somewhere makes us constantly unsatisfied with what we currently have. Although ambition is not a bad thing, we must ask the question, will we ever be satisfied and thankful with our lives, and ourselves for that matter? The lack of gratitude leads not only to lack of motivation and self-confidence, but also to stress and depression. If you learn to appreciate every little experience in your life, you are more likely to be happy, fulfilled, and even successful. So, here’s how to cultivate this amazing virtue.
Choose to be grateful
Don’t wait for some major event, like winning the lottery or having a baby, to make you feel thankful. You can feel like that this very instant, all it takes is to decide to be grateful. Make it a firm decision, by writing it down, or marking the date on the calendar. It is virtually impossible to find gratitude, unless you are searching for it.
Count your blessings
We all have something or someone that makes us happy. It’s easy to get tangled up in our daily chores and worries and forget about those people and little things we have. That’s why it’s important to constantly remind ourselves of all the things we should be grateful for – a sunny day, a good friend, healthy family, a special talent, a great movie, etc. Make this your morning and evening habit, and you will notice your days becoming happier.
Don’t focus on what you don’t have
Dreams and desires are essential parts of our lives, but we shouldn’t spend too much mental energy on them. The largest part of our mental focus should be directed to things we have and things we can do, instead of the ones we don’t need to be happy. Think about it – a new dress from the catalog may be wonderful, but does it really help you to achieve joy and fulfillment?
Give to receive
The odd paradox of giving something to receive something, in a form of intangible emotion, is the very foundation of gratitude. You may cultivate this healthy habit by helping those less fortunate. Do that by volunteering, giving money, food, etc. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, you can give or sell (for a bargain) your old clothes. Stores like Swap online consignment have developed a great practice of e-commerce and shipping the clothes to one’s address, so this can be simple and great way to help someone.
Have a ritual
Take fifteen minutes each day to grow and nourish a sense of gratitude. Write a journal about the things that make you happy or just a simple list. You can also make it a habit to call one person each day and say how grateful you are to have him/her in your life. Deep breathing while meditating about all the great things you have in your life can be very enlightening too.
Share the idea
Gratitude is such a lovely feeling and it would be shame to keep it to yourself. Spread the word about your journey to your current mindset, and you will get multiple benefits. First, you will help others which will make you feel better. Second, you will cause an entire wave of positive energy, which will eventually come back to you.
All of this may sound as a fairytale journey, but it is truly possible. The hardest thing is to get started, and everything after that is a piece of cake, since the gratitude that is growing inside of you will help you to remain motivated along the way.