As we watch random shootings, fires, and other catastrophes happening all over the world, it’s easy to forget to give thanks for what we have. It’s much easier to become fearful and resentful. With so many people showing off photoshopped and filtered lives on social media, it’s easier to become jealous and envious. Money has become all powerful – promising that one more product or makeover is going to be the key to our happiness.
When you work day and night to make ends, it’s easy to overlook the abundance we have surrounding us. Abundance includes the things we take for granted – a heated house, paved roads, the freedom to express ourselves, a hug from your child, or just a loved one calling to say hello.
Many of us postpone gratitude until we’ve reached a desired goal, but the practice of being grateful should come before that. It should come immediately when you wake up in the morning and continue throughout the day. Why? Because nothing will ever be able to give you the happiness practicing gratitude will. To practice gratitude is to be aware of the innumerable gifts you’re given each day. Sometimes, they are things you haven’t earned, asked for, or even deserve.
Research supports that practicing gratitude changes us. Much of life is outside our control – focusing on gratitude changes our thoughts and perspectives from within. As our thoughts change, our responses change. We become less vindictive, less envious, and less caustic. We become more appreciative and forgiving of others. Still not sure? Here are ways gratitude works to help you become a better version of yourself:
Practicing gratitude keeps your perspective in check. Gratitude shifts your negative thought patterns to ones that are more optimistic and positive. After all, most of life is about what we’re thinking or how we perceive events.
Practicing gratitude helps deepen your faith. It doesn’t matter what faith you practice – gratitude helps you realize you’re not alone. It broadens your ability to see all that has been given to you and to feel connected to something bigger than yourself. Practicing gratitude helps us see that we have enough, and we feel more empowered to reach out and share with others.
Practicing gratitude helps us feel happier. Researchers have determined that practicing gratitude keeps you in focused state of being grateful for what you have. Groups studied also became more optimistic as they focused on what they had and let go of blaming themselves or others for what they didn’t. In addition, as you become a more positive person, you’ll attract a similar type of person, creating an upbeat and positive circle of friends.
Practicing gratitude minimizes your inner fears. Our fears are caused by telling ourselves we lack something we need for the future. By practicing gratitude, we slow our minds to focus on being grateful for right now rather than worrying about what you don’t have tomorrow or in the future.
Practicing gratitude strengthens your ability to achieve your goals. When you practice gratitude, you remind yourself to be grateful for your gifts. You become more confident and encouraged to take on new goals and take on the necessary risks knowing you’ll always have things to be grateful for.
Thanksgiving is a day we dedicate to gratitude, but year-long gratitude is a life changer. No matter what happens, there will always be opportunities to practice gratitude. Blessings aren’t limited to a few, but you have to take your blinders off to see them. Have a Thanksgiving full of giving thanks.