Life Full of Frustration? Try Gratitude for a Change
Looking for Happiness?
Of course you are! We all are.
What is the key to finding it?
Could it be gratitude?
It’s easy to feel grateful when life is good, says Robert Emmons. But when disaster strikes, gratitude is worth the effort. When life is going well, gratitude allows us to celebrate and magnify the goodness. But what about when life goes badly?
Many of us are thankful for the things in our life. Yet, gratitude is much more than being thankful. Thankfulness is an expression of happiness. Being thankful is telling someone you appreciate what they have done. Being thankful is being glad it didn’t rain on picnic day. Being thankful is happiness from a gift.
Gratitude is thankfulness taken to the next level. It is a heart-felt and intellectual acknowledgement of all that is good in your life. It’s embracing uncertainty. To feel gratitude towards the bad things that have happened to us knowing that will lead you a new opportunity.”
There are many benefits to practicing gratitude:
• You will experience peace of mind and more optimism, suffer less stress, be more satisfied with life, less materialistic, often feel more spiritual, regardless of religion.
• It’s great for your family or children to see your positive attitude and that you appreciate the little things. Did you know that everyday you’re teaching your children to be good parents? Did you know that they will copy your behavior as adults? A study showed that “children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families” (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008).
• Gratitude is great for all relationships. Feeling gratitude for friends, family or business associates makes your relationship stronger. It may seem like a simple thing but saying thank you really makes everyone feel better! You can be general about your thank you or quite specific.
• There are physical benefits. Grateful people tend to exercise more and experience better health. Author and researcher Dr. Robert Emmons conducted 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)
How does one practice gratitude?
It’s a habit like anything else. Just as a negative thoughts can strongly influence your mood, so can a positive feeling of gratitude affect your day. When we complain about something in our day that either went wrong or did not transpire the way we had wanted – we stop showing and giving gratitude.
Every time that we allow frustrations to wash over us, we stop showing and giving gratitude. This is our vicious cycle. Let us break through it and little by little let go of all the negative thoughts that restrain us from being truly thankful.